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The Iveagh Markets in the Liberties, Dublin city
Dublin City

Council puts security in place at Iveagh Markets as calls grow for building to be restored

A Dáil debate on the derelict site took place last week.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has secured the Iveagh Markets amid concerns over the deterioration of the historic building.

In a statement this evening, the council confirmed that they had resecured the building and have implemented 24 hour on-site security at the markets.

“Following the decision by Lord Iveagh to withdraw security at the Iveagh Markets, Dublin City Council has today re-secured the building and organised 24 hour on-site security,” the council said.

Currently, the site is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute between several parties, including developer Martin Keane, Lord Iveagh and Dublin City Council (DCC). With the mediation process still ongoing, DCC have said that they will not be commenting further.

A spokesperson for Lord Iveagh, Edward Cecil Guinness, estimated in 2021 that it would cost €23 million to restore the Iveagh Markets, which were build in the early 1900s but have now been derelict for over 20 years. 

Recent history

Late in 2020 the Guinness family took back possession of the complex in the latest twist in an ongoing ownership saga. Edward Guinness said he wanted to restore the market to its former glory with space for food and clothes stalls, coffee shops, art displays and pop-up shops. 

His team carried out initial work to secure the venue and remove debris but the ownership dispute has delayed more extensive renovation. 

For over 75 years, Iveagh Markets housed a large number of Dublin’s traders under a 99-year lease agreement between the Guinness family and Dublin Corporation.

The Guinness’ agreed to lease it to Dublin Corporation provided it be used solely as a market for Dublin 8 locals.

In the mid-1990s, Dublin City Council said it was looking for a developer to redevelop the dilapidated Iveagh Markets.

Businessman Martin Keane was granted planning permission for a redevelopment in 2007 after agreeing a 500-year leasehold with DCC in 1997. The council later announced its intention to repossess the building as two separate planning permissions had lapsed and Keane failed to raise finance for development.

A third planning application by Keane was refused by the council on the basis that he was not the legal owner, and he launched a High Court case.

The Guinness family got involved in December 2020, invoking a clause in the original Deed of Conveyance from 1906 which stated that the market would revert to the Guinness family if it was not developed as a market.

Keane has challenged the Guinness family’s claim to the property and the case has been in legal dispute ever since.  


Today’s development comes as a petition to restore the historic market reaches over 2,000 signatures, with a debate on the restoration taking place in the Dáil last week.

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South-Central, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, called for Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan to step in on the mediation process and help kickstart the restoration.

“When the Iveagh Markets closed Dublin City Council estimated it would cost €1 million or €2 million to refurbish the building. Now it is talking about €20 million. That is the damage caused by years of neglect and awaiting development that never happened,” Ó Snodaigh told the Dáil.

“Mediation is supposedly going on between those who claim ownership. At some stage, someone has to call a halt to that.

“The longer that mediation goes on, the more dangerous the building becomes and the more likely it is that someone will have to step in and take action.

“For this reason, I call on the Minister of State who has an interest in heritage in the city to step in,” adding that it would improve amenities for the community, but also improve local tourism.

Noonan said however, due to the mediation process, it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the ownership of the markets.

However, he said that he had instructed officials within the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to contact DCC and examine actions needed to prevent further damage to the building.

“I fully understand and appreciate the value of our built heritage at a local level. I am eager to see the appropriate action taken in this case as soon as possible. In the past few days, I have asked officials in my Department to make contact with Dublin City Council on this matter,” Noonan said.

It is important in the short term to secure the building and prevent any further water ingress or damage to it. We are making efforts now to see if we can progress matters as a matter of urgency.

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