herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

€130k to clear Smithfield for queen's visit

COSTLY: Building site later reinstated

DUBLIN City Council forked out more than €130,000 to remove an area of construction work prior to May's State visits -- only to replace it days later.

The Herald can reveal that the council was forced to cover the costs incurred by a contractor who was carrying out renovation work at a site in Smithfield in the north inner city.

Gardai deemed the site a security risk ahead of Queen Elizabeth's state trip and instructed the council to ensure the work was removed.

However, there is some doubt as to whether Dublin City Council will be able to recoup the amount after making a submission to the Government.

Councillors have today blasted the cost and have raised fears that next year's budget will be slashed to cover the overall cost of the visits. A spokesperson for Dublin City Council told the Herald today that it would be "premature" to state whether the costs can be recouped.

"The contractor was instructed to do this by Dublin City Council following direction from the gardai who directed that the site be secured as part of the event management for the State visits."

He added: "The costs the contractor incurred include the demobilisation of the site, temporary resurfacing of roads, the hiring of storage space for equipment and the remobilisation of the site over a 10-day period."

However, Cllr Micheal Mac Donncha described the removal of the works as "over-the-top".

"This is a case of the council paying over €130,000 for an over-the-top so-called security measure as part of the virtual lockdown of the city, at great inconvenience to citizens.

"With City Council management set to impose budget cuts this year, it is ordinary citizens who will pay the price."

And Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said the effects of the visits are still seen around the city.

He told the Herald: "It was vitally important that a strong security operation was in place but the problem now is the effects the visits have had on the fabric of the city.



damage

"Everywhere you go now you see very evident damage to kerbs and land posts. The Georgian quarter was particularly damaged. There was no problem putting the money in place for the trips but the money doesn't seem to be there to return the city to its original state."

While it was revealed that the visits cost the State close to €40m -- the individual cost borne by Dublin City Council is not yet known.

hnews@herald.ie

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