Controversy around Bridgefoot Street

Amy Lewis

Residents of the Liberties raise concerns about the safety of a derelict site on Bridgefoot Street and call on the local authorities to tackle the issue.

Bridgefoot Street

Dublin City Council may face legal action for failing to comply with its obligations under the Derelict Sites Act 1990.

The issue was brought up at the recent South West Inner City Police Forum with regards to a derelict site on Bridgefoot Street that is owned by the Council.

Local residents who attended the meeting raised concerns about the site, saying that it has been attracting drug dealing, arson and antisocial behaviour.

Assistant Area Manager for the Dublin City Council Seán Moloney said he believes that ‘the site will be vacant for many years to come’.

Mr Moloney pointed out the site was fenced and said he felt that it was ‘secure’. However residents disagreed, stating that a gap in the fencing had allowed youths to light fires on the site on two occasions in recent weeks.

Killian O’ Higgins of the Thomas Street Business Community challenged Mr Moloney on the issue.

“The T.S.B.C. believes that the Dublin City Council is not in compliance with its statutory obligations under the 1990 Derelict Sites Act 1990,” said Mr O’ Higgins.

“It is hard to believe that DCC lists only 36 sites as derelict sites within its functional area. It is evident by walking around Thomas Street and surrounding areas that lack of enforcement action under the Derelict Sites Act has had a negative effect on the area” Mr O’ Higgins continued.

Under the Derelict Sites Act, the term derelict site refers to any neglected building or area of land that is considered unsightly or dangerous.

The act states that local authority must maintain a register containing information about derelict sites.

In the case of land owned or occupied by a local authority, such as the Bridgefoot Street site, details of the use, if any, which is being made of the land and information of any purpose for which the land is intended to be used needs to be recorded.

“We need DCC to recognise its obligations and take action accordingly as dereliction drives vacancy and makes the area less attractive,” said Mr O’Higgins.

“If we cannot get DCC to take action we will look to take legal action to force them live up to their statutory obligations.”

The Bridgefoot Street plot was formerly the site of flat complexes that were built in the 1960’s.

Following their demolition in 2003, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal was made to build 200 apartments in their place but this plan was cancelled due to difficult economic conditions.

The derelict site was transformed into a community garden by representatives of the Robert Emmet Community Development Project but this initiative was suspended in 2011 due to lack of clarity regarding the agreed use of the site.

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