Tuesday 17 July 2018

Council moves for official protection of Poolbeg chimneys

DUBLIN'S under-threat Poolbeg chimneys have received an official boost to protect them from demolition.

City councillors agreed an emergency motion seeking to list the chimneys as protected structures.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey succeeded in getting 
majority agreement for his move at a meeting of the council's South East area committee.

His motion was in response to reports that the ESB was considering demolishing the chimneys. The company ceased using them as part of its electricity generation process in 2010.

Mr Lacey said the company had assured the council in the past it would not demolish them before engaging with the area committee.

Mr Lacey said the chimneys were iconic structures, were an integral part of the city's skyscape and a symbol of the city's industrial heritage.

His motion was to start the process to list them as protected structures.

Independent councillor Ruairi McGinley disagreed with the motion and said the disused chimneys "are going to degrade and the laws of gravity will not stand still".

If people wanted to keep alive their memory of the towers, they could always download their images from the internet in the future, he said.


Labour councillor Mary Freehill said: "They're not iconic structures. They're a landmark and people are emotionally attached to them."

She said the Eiffel Tower was "not great", but people became attached to it. The people of Dublin should be asked for their opinions as it was a citywide issue, she said.

The committee's new chairperson, Mannix Flynn, said the chimneys would be "an enormous loss" if demolished. When flying into Dublin, they act like a lighthouse giving "a sense of home", he said.

The emergency motion was passed with the support of councillors from all parties.

Pat O'Doherty, chief executive of the ESB, said on Newstalk yesterday his company will not do anything to the chimneys without first consulting the city council.

Mr O'Doherty acknowledged the structures' importance to the city's skyline, but said they were part of a power station that has served its time.

He said he liked the towers, but the company is considering the future of the site and they could cost millions to preserve.


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