Sunday 23 October 2016

Questions over 'gift' of Chinese garden to be installed in D4 park

The Chinese Yi Garden that is to be installed at Herbert Park.
The Chinese Yi Garden that is to be installed at Herbert Park.

Questions have been raised over whether it is appropriate for the city to accept the gift of a tranquil Chinese garden.

The Chinese Embassy has given Dublin City Council (DCC) a "Yi-Garden", which they have requested is installed close to their embassy on Merrion Road.

Herbert Park was chosen by the council. The garden is expertly crafted and was brought to Dublin from Yangzhau City - an area famous for its gardens and shrines.

It was displayed as part of this year's Bloom Festival in the Phoenix Park.


Members of the south east area committee approved its installation in the park this autumn.

However, local councillor Mannix Flynn said he is "alarmed" that protocol may not have been followed.

"I believe there is a massive issue around governance here, it's inappropriate that DCC accepted it without going through or creating proper procedures," he said.

Mr Flynn said the garden does not appear to be an official gift from the Chinese Government and will incur maintenance costs that have not been specified.

He also questioned whether a planning process should have been applied before the decision to place the feature in the southside park was taken.

Mr Flynn said there are procedures in place for the procurement of public art that could apply.

"If they brought it through the process, I would have examined whether the park needed it," he said.

The garden includes planting, seating, a small rockery, a pond and waterfall and will be installed on site by Chinese craftsmen from the Jiangsu region of China.

In a report prepared for councillors a DCC official said the garden "will add significantly to Herbert Park".

"The garden contains traditional elements from the Jiangsu region and applies the theory of traditional Chinese painting to the design layout.

"The design was one of the show gardens for Bloom 2016 and has now been kindly gifted "as a bridge of friendship connecting Ireland and China", the report reads.

Dublin City Council had not responded to requests for clarification at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, Herzog Park in Ranelagh is also on track for an upgrade and revised designs are due to be submitted for public approval which will include a multi-games area, a school garden and a playground.

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