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Planning law

Street artists to make documentary about court battle with Dublin City Council

The group has been in a five-year court dispute over three murals around the city.

A COLLECTIVE OF street artists is planning to make a documentary about its lengthy court battle with Dublin City Council.

Subset has been at the centre of a five-year court dispute with the council over three murals around the city, which the council claims do not have planning permission.

The movement is being taken to Dublin District Court next month after the council launched legal action, claiming the murals breach planning laws.

One celebrates the life of David Attenborough. Another is known as Horseboy, while the other, called Think And Wonder, marked mental health month.

Under planning legislation, organisers of public murals need permission to paint on gable walls.

However, a member of Subset, who asked to remain anonymous, told PA news agency Ireland’s planning laws were outdated and too strict.

He said other European cities, as well the UK and Australia, embraced street art culture and provided spaces for street artists.

Today, the group were forced to paint over a recent mural over fears they could face further enforcement action.

The group wants the government to liberalise Ireland’s planning laws.

The Subset member said that Dublin City Council recently sent additional enforcement orders for the same artworks.

“They have threatened prosecution in the Circuit Court and High Court, which is entirely unprecedented because the cases are already before the courts and they are being heard in under three weeks time and we are engaged with the process.

“It seems an attempt to intensify matters and put pressure on existing proceedings.

“Some of the artwork has been there for five years and others 18 months.

“We want the court to rule on this matter. We want resolution and finality and hopefully, all going well, we want an amendment to the legislation to provide for a simplified process for the creation of public artworks.”

At this point, we still totally believe in everything we set out to achieve very early on

He said the group has suffered strain and stress because of the long-term court process.

“At this point, we still totally believe in everything we set out to achieve very early on,” he said.

“But right now we need support. For so long we’ve sort have been communicating in the background, but not being entirely public with it.”

He described planning legislation in other European cities, the UK and Australia as “worlds apart”.

Now the group plans to document their battle with the council to help liberalise Ireland’s planning laws to assist street artists.

Subset needs funding to cover the cost of the documentary and has raised just over €5,000 to date.

Dublin City Council has been contacted for comment.