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Dublin City Council moves to repossess historic Iveagh Markets

DCC has said it is “terminating” contact with Businessman Martin Keane regarding The Markets’ redevelopment.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL says it plans to repossess The Iveagh Markets in Dublin 8 after years of stalled redevelopment. 

Businessman Martin Keane was granted planning permission for The Iveagh Markets redevelopment in 2007 after agreeing a long-term leasehold agreement with the Council in 1997. The planning permission lapsed in 2017, however. 

A DCC-commissioned report last September said that more than €13 million is needed to carry out “essential structural repairs” on the historic red-brick structure on Francis Street, which has gradually deteriorated in recent years. 

The Local Area Plan (LAP) for the Liberties, adopted by the council in May 2009 (and extended in 2014 until May 2020), states that the Iveagh Markets “with its distinctive character …will become a destination shopping district when it opens”.

In 2017, local Councillors voted to take over ownership of the markets, located in the Liberties and built by the Iveagh Trust in 1890.

In December 2019, Keane lodged a new planning application for the Markets’ redevelopment. 

In a report issued to Councillors today, however, Dublin City Council Assistant Chief Executive Richard Shakespeare made it clear the council did not support Keane’s planning application. 

He also told councillors that the council was not satisfied with documents provided by Keane following a request for evidence of how the project would be financed and delivered in a timely manner.

Dublin City Council recently wrote to Keane saying it is “terminating all communication with him and that it is taking the necessary steps to repossess the property from him”.

“The Council will defend this action in the courts if necessary,” Shakespeare said. The Business Post reported last summer that Keane said he would deploy “considerable financial resources” in any legal action over Iveagh Markets

In a statement today, Labour Councillor Rebecca Moynihan said The Markets “need to be secured and made structurally sound as a matter of urgency”. 

“It is time for the City Council to step in and develop this site and bring it back into use as a fully functional market in line with the history of the area,” she said. 

“There’s a real need for market space over that area. Taking back and developing the Iveagh Markets will be a complete game-changer for the Francis Street and Liberties area.”

Keane has been contacted for comment. 

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