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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Dublin retailers angered over plans for 1913 Lockout commemorations

O’Connell Street is due to be closed for one full day on 31 August 2013.

Image of a proclamation by Dublin Metropolitan Police republished with the kind permission of the National Library of Ireland.
Image of a proclamation by Dublin Metropolitan Police republished with the kind permission of the National Library of Ireland.
Image: National Library of Ireland via Flickr

DUBLIN RETAILERS HAVE urged organisers of this year’s 1913 Lockout commemorations to reverse a decision to shut down the city’s main thoroughfare for a full day.

The proposed closure to all traffic is to facilitate a commemoration of the Bloody Sunday incident on the 31 August 2013 – 100 years to the day since the attack by police on a trade union rally – but shop owners have questioned the plans.

In a statement, Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID) explained that although it supports the commemoration, the closure of the street is “very unwelcome news” as many retailers struggle to keep their doors open.

The group asked why the premier street in the capital is to be closed for an entire day on the last Saturday before children go back to school, one that stores would traditionally expect to be busy.

According to BID, the event will render deliveries impossible for the Henry Street area, impact visiting tourists and discourage residents from staying in the city.

“This closure will not only prevent cars from accessing the street but more importantly buses will have to be diverted. The vast majority of city centre buses use O’ Connell Street, the city’s primary artery,” it continued. “When bus and cars are taken into consideration, it is expected that 65 per cent of the potential visitors to the city will be discommoded for a full day.”

Author and organiser Padraig Yeates argued that event planners have gone to great lengths to ensure the disruption is minimised. He told Morning Ireland that it will be the first time the State formally acknowledges the event and subsequent suffering.

They also chose the Saturday rather than the Sunday on the back of security advice from the gardaí.

BID also cited concerns about the lack of consultation by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the OPW and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with regard to the commemorations, particularly as there are a number of centenary celebrations due over the next 10 years.

The business community was presented with a fait accompli. There was a point blank refusal to consider the impacts on the business community, their employees and the 400,000 customers that can be expected to visit the city on the day.

“Experience would suggest that trade on the north side of the city will suffer by approximately 20 per cent as a result of the closure of O’ Connell Street and will lead to a tax cost running to millions of euro for the state.  This could have been avoided if there was any willingness to engage constructively with the broader city community.”

CEO of BID Richard Guiney says it is not too late to reverse the decision and has called for a meeting with organisers.

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Pics: Grafton Street from 1913 to 1991

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