Iveagh Market repairs to begin despite ongoing legal battle 

The first stage of repairs to the historic Iveagh Gardens will be completed in the next few weeks, although it could take up to two years for the building to be fully restored to its former glory. 

Outside the main entrance of the Iveagh Markets. Credit: Aidan O’Boyle

Over the winter the condition of the markets had gotten worse, with sections of the roof structure collapsing.

The building, which was used regularly since it was built in 1907, has been left idle since 1996. 

However, Dublin City Council gave a welcome briefing on Thursday, February 8th, that included an update on the repairs. 

Darragh O’Brien, Minister of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, stated that the first phase should be finished in the first three months of this year.

This includes clearing loose materials, installing crash decks, safe access routes, and removing vegetation. 

Francesca Comyn is the legal editor for and has closely followed the legal case surrounding the Iveagh markets, said the news is, “so positive and it’s what the local people deserve.” 

“The building has been left derelict for far too long and a big reason for that is the ongoing legal battle between Martin Keane, Edward Guinness and Dublin City Council,” Comyn said. 

For the past three years, legal proceedings have been ongoing between Martin Keane and his affiliated companies and Dublin City Council, as well as between Keane and Edward Guinness. 

Keane, an Irish businessman, was granted a 500-year lease on the property and allowed to transform it into a restaurant and hotel. 

The plan never came into fruition and his planning permission was not renewed, so the building remained idle. 

Signs warning locals to keep out. Credit: Aidan O’Boyle

Comyn then explained that Edward Guinness used a “reverter clause” to repossess the building.

“Put simply the clause states that if it’s not being used as a market, the lands revert back to the Guinness family. The Edwardian document is what he relied upon to go and take back the derelict building in 2020,” revealed Comyn. 

Keane brought Guinness to court for trespassing while Guinness accused Keane of presiding over neglect of the building.

All three parties continue to point fingers at each other. 

In December, Guinness withdrew the provision of security of the Market and Dublin City Council stepped in to secure and monitor the building and allowed the council to start emergency works to protect the building from getting worse. 

Comyn believes it could be many years before the Iveagh Markets are repaired to its former glory but she thinks that The Iveagh Market “has the potential to be a great addition to the Liberties and Dublin once again.”

Featured Image Credit : Aidan O’Boyle

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