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Plans for City Library at Parnell Square proceed with project manager set to take up role this month

Funding problems and rising costs led the Council to scale back the project last year and focus on delivering the City Library.

Concept designs from 2016 for a new City Library at Parnell Square.
Concept designs from 2016 for a new City Library at Parnell Square.
Image: Dublin City Council

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL is pressing ahead with plans for the Parnell City Library with a project manager set to be in place by January.

The original plan to develop the quarter, first unveiled in 2016, heralded plans for a transformation of Parnell Square West including a new City Library.

However, funding problems and rising costs led the Council to scale back the project last year and focus on delivering the City Library. 

Real Estate firm Kennedy Wilson had agreed to lead a philanthropic drive for the project, which originally had a price tag of €60 million. 

However, documents released under FOI show that it struggled to appoint a fundraiser as projected costs for the project ballooned to €130 million. 

In a “most disappointing and unwelcome development” the Parnell Foundation set up to raise philanthropic funding could not guarantee the money, Council Chief Executive Owen Keegan told councillors last July. 

The Council said last year that an assessment to see if the project can be delivered on a “phased basis” had been completed.

Phase One, it said, involves completing refurbishment works to No 27 Parnell Square so that the City Library element of the Cultural Quarter can be built.

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Phase Two involves the refurbishment of remaining Georgian buildings on Parnell Square West and public realm improvements.

The Council confirmed that it still plans to apply for a European Investment Bank loan and Departmental funding to complete the project.

It is expected that an announcement will be made regarding available funding in January alongside a Project Manager taking up their role.

Sources within Dublin City Council have indicated that Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is supportive of the project with Government funding likely to be secured in the coming weeks.      

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