Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby PVC King » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:16 pm

Was it a planning condition that the lawn be reinstated?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby SeamusOG » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:57 am

Today's Irish Times wrote:Retention of temporary car park at Dáil gets green light

The politicians who run the Dáil complex have decided to defy the planning laws and retain a temporary car park on Leinster Lawn for the foreseeable future, writes Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent.
In the meantime they intend to explore the possibility of building a two-storey, underground car park which could also be put to commercial use.
The Oireachtas Commission decided to retain the temporary car park, which was put down on Leinster Lawn in the late 1990s to enable construction of new office accommodation, until the underground car park can be built. That will not happen for at least four years.
The decision was taken by the commission even though it noted that "the current temporary car park was in contravention of the Part IX planning process which required the lawn to be reinstated following completion of the Leinster House 2000 works".
The car park on the lawn is mainly used by Dáil staff and journalists. Politicians have their own reserved spaces to one side of the lawn or in front of Leinster House. The facility is available free to all serving and former members of the Oireachtas.
The temporary car park was put in when the spaces traditionally used by staff were closed off during the building work on Leinster House in 2000. However, it has remained a permanent feature since the new block opened six years ago.
In the meantime, the Government decided that, in the long-term, all surface parking should be removed from the Kildare Street and Merrion Street sides of Leinster House to an underground car park.
Experts from the Office of Public Works told the Oireachtas Commission in May that preliminary discussions with the National Treasury Management Agency indicated good potential for public/private investment in the project. This would be based on the possibility for revenue generation, which in turn depends on the level of availability of spaces for commercial use.
"It is clear that the viability of the project as a 'PPP' type investment with a sufficient income stream would be very dependent on there being a significant availability of spaces for private use, eg at night, on non-sitting days and/or at weekends," said the commission minutes.
It noted that construction of the underground car park was unlikely to commence within two years, and would take a further two years to complete. In that context, it took the view that it would be impractical and a poor use of public funds to restore the lawn only to dig it up in two years' time to build the underground car park.
© The Irish Times

Surprise, surprise.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby phil » Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:05 am

Can the Dail simply decide that this is the case? Is there any other building of such national and historical importance in which a "temporary" carpark is allowed to be retained for so long? Also, is there any other major Georgian House in Ireland which has been allowed to build an underground carpark under the lawns directly surrounding it?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby StephenC » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:01 pm

Of course it can! Who's to complain!? I imagine this 'temporary' car park will be here for some time yet. And imagine the collective backslapping when TDs finally get exTDs and journalists their free parking in a nice expensive underground carpark and reinstate the Lawn (it being such a vital piece of our heritage you know). Dignity of the House me arse!
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:59 pm

"The facility is available free to all serving and former members of the Oireachtas."

I'm certain that I've heard of spouses of former TDs using it too. Mrs Reynolds' shopping trips spring to mind, no? And don't ministers have cars with drivers? So why they need all day free parking is beyond me.

They should be ashamed of themselves. Surely there's a handful opposed to this? Higgins (J. and M.D.), Cuffe, E. Ryan? Mc Manus? Cullen?

Sure what do our opinions matter? We're only the plebs.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby PVC King » Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:02 pm

With substandard transit
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby PVC King » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:10 pm

TDs slow in paying debts in Dáil bar, even at €3.70 a pint
From:ireland.com
Tuesday, 18th July, 2006


Politicians might be paying too little for their pints, wine and spirits in Leinster House, it has emerged after an audit which found that the profit margins in the Dáil bar are too low, writes Liam Reid, Political Reporter.

The audit, by the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, also found that TDs and senators were not being chased up quickly enough to pay off their bar tabs.

The comptroller's concerns were outlined in a standard report called a management letter sent to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, which controls the annual €100 million budget for running the Dáil and Seanad.

The letter raised a number of small items concerning the running of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and its bars and restaurants, which were in the main found to be well run with good financial controls.

There are four bars and restaurants in operation in Leinster House, including a visitors' bar, members' bar, public self-service restaurant and members' restaurant. The self-service and visitors' bars are also open to staff and political journalists based in Leinster House.

According to minutes of the commission's audit committee meeting in February, the management letter raised the concerns about "a drop in gross margin and the poor return of wine/spirit sales" in the bar and restaurant facilities.

Indeed, TDs, senators and those working in Leinster House, including political journalists, enjoy one of the best value pints in Dublin. A pint of Guinness costs €3.70 in the Dáil visitors' bar, 50c cheaper than a pint across the road in Buswell's Hotel.

However, members of the audit committee dismissed any suggestion that the prices should be increased.

Independent senator Joe O'Toole said there could be "no move to increase profit by increasing margins at the expense of TDs and staff", the minutes state.

The audit committee was also told that the comptroller had raised the issue of "collection of debtors" in relation to the bars and restaurants. The only debtors are TDs and senators who are afforded the facility of a "tab".

The system is considerably useful for TDs and senators, many of whom entertain large groups of constituents when the Houses of the Oireachtas are in session.

However the minutes stress the issue did not relate to "bad debts" but rather to "slow collection".


Sound familiar?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:25 pm

16/6/2007

As this thread contains quite a bit of Kildare Place material, this might as well go here. I came across this photograph of Kildare Place from c.1890 in the National Library Collection. What a radically different place it was :(

Image
© National Library of Ireland

Also note the Georgian terrrace in the distance forming one side of Merrion Street prior to demolition for Government Buildings/Royal College of Science.

The grand Victorian on the site of the present Department of Agriculture was the Church of Ireland training college according to Frank McDonald. Acquired in the early 1960s by John Laing, a large UK contruction firm, they got permission in 1963 to build an eight-storey office block on the site, but nothing happened until the State stepped in in 1969, paid some of the site acquisition costs, and then got Irish Life of all people to bank-roll the construction of the block, to be built by Laing. Notoriously of course, Irish Life thereby acquired the freehold of the building, and rented it to the State on a tenure of 150 years! (it's since been bought out). Indeed by 1984, the rent annual rent amounted to the cost of building it in the first place!

The two Georgians as pictured before were demolished by the State in 1957, and replaced by McGrath's brown brick wall, now rsther picturesquely coverd in ivy. Apparently a Governemnt minister at the time said: 'I was glad to see them go. They stood for everything I hate'. Here they are being stripped down.

Image

The doorcase is remarkably similar to Richard Castle's surviving house on O'Connell Street :(. Rather conveniently, the houses were demolished by the OPW at the same time that the State Apartments in the Castle were being restored/rebuilt from scratch, and two late 18th century fireplaces salvaged from Number 3 Kildare Place were reused there: one in the Wedgewood Room, and another in a fomer Viceregal bedroom to the rear.

Anyone any idea what/where this building is to the rear? Where Huguenot House now stands?

Image


Also the enormous bulk of Agriculture House, as designed by Sam Stephenson, then the largest office block ever built in Ireland.

Image
© fantasyjackpalace.com


And Kildare Place today.

Image
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby aj » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:16 pm

GrahamH wrote:16/6/2007

As this thread contains quite a bit of Kildare Place material, this might as well go here. I came across this photograph of Kildare Place from c.1890 in the National Library Collection. What a radically different place it was :(

Image
© National Library of Ireland

Also note the Georgian terrrace in the distance forming one side of Merrion Street prior to demolition for Government Buildings/Royal College of Science.

The grand Victorian on the site of the present Department of Agriculture was the Church of Ireland training college according to Frank McDonald. Acquired in the early 1960s by John Laing, a large UK contruction firm, they got permission in 1963 to build an eight-storey office block on the site, but nothing happened until the State stepped in in 1969, paid some of the site acquisition costs, and then got Irish Life of all people to bank-roll the construction of the block, to be built by Laing. Notoriously of course, Irish Life thereby acquired the freehold of the building, and rented it to the State on a tenure of 150 years! (it's since been bought out). Indeed by 1984, the rent annual rent amounted to the cost of building it in the first place!

The two Georgians as pictured before were demolished by the State in 1957, and replaced by McGrath's brown brick wall, now rsther picturesquely coverd in ivy. Apparently a Governemnt minister at the time said: 'I was glad to see them go. They stood for everything I hate'. Here they are being stripped down.

Image

The doorcase is remarkably similar to Richard Castle's surviving house on O'Connell Street :(. Rather conveniently, the houses were demolished by the OPW at the same time that the State Apartments in the Castle were being restored/rebuilt from scratch, and two late 18th century fireplaces salvaged from Number 3 Kildare Place were reused there: one in the Wedgewood Room, and another in a fomer Viceregal bedroom to the rear.

Anyone any idea what/where this building is to the rear? Where Huguenot House now stands?

Image


Also the enormous bulk of Agriculture House, as designed by Sam Stephenson, then the largest office block ever built in Ireland.

Image
© fantasyjackpalace.com


And Kildare Place today.

Image



It really is heartbreaking to see what was was done to the city..
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby PVC King » Sun Jun 17, 2007 1:10 pm

Reinstatting the lawn would be the perfect opportunity for the Greens to make the subject curtilage green in the most literal sense possible.

Can they do it?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby mollox » Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:50 pm

GrahamH wrote:16/6/2007
Also the enormous bulk of Agriculture House, as designed by Sam Stephenson, then the largest office block ever built in Ireland.

Image
© fantasyjackpalace.com


You can also see some of "the enormous bulk of Agriculture House" from Merrion Street, as it protrudes above Government Buildings. Harmonious.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby mollox » Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:52 pm

PVC King wrote:Reinstatting the lawn would be the perfect opportunity for the Greens to make the subject curtilage green in the most literal sense possible.

Can they do it?


Perhaps if someone reminded them that Noel O'Gara has been threatened withh jail for attempting to use Dartmouth Square as a car-park. :)
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby alonso » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:43 pm

mollox wrote:Perhaps if someone reminded them that Noel O'Gara has been threatened withh jail for attempting to use Dartmouth Square as a car-park. :)


Perhaps if Jackie Healy Rae parks a few caravans there? He never showed us that piece of paper y'know!!!
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby PVC King » Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:15 pm

I'll have to write to my local TD Chris Andrews and remind him of that Mollox!

Especially as he did make an election issue out of it!


Reason for edit, I always mix up tubridy's cousin's
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby fergalr » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:58 pm

The protrusion of Agriculture House over the corner of Govt Bldgs is an annoyance alright. Whenever it's knocked and sold perhaps it could be part of the deal to ensure this doesn't happen again.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby phil » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:35 am

I quite like the department of agriculture building I must admit. Somehow I think it works quite well on the Kildare Street side.

Nice images of Kildare Place Graham.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:51 pm

I agree: all of those square precast units repeated over and over are oddly attractive - they must appeal in a logical, Duplo building block kind of way. And for such an enormous building, including a considerable height, it's remarkably unobtrusive. It would appear to achieve this by having little or no service layer between the floors - I suspect it might not have air conditioning given all of those hundreds of windows open (in contrast to some of Stephenson's other work), and it's quite a shallow building with windows on all elevations. Its monolithic scale is also greatly reduced because there's no principal facade; indeed most of the building is pretty much hidden in one way or another!

Yes the sneaky intrusion of its upper floor over the parapet of Government Buildings is one of the little-often mentioned planning mistakes of the 1960s. Without question this ought to be rectified before/when the Department ever move out.

Image

It's much worse once you're inside the gates.

In a way it's interesting how times have changed, both in terms of Government Buildings itself and how underestimated it was at the time (partly to do with its condition), and in how planning applications are compiled and processed. Renderings of sightlines and visual impact assessments would be central to a modern-day development application of this kind.

Not that air con plant and water tanks aren't still slipping through the net...

Image
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby SeamusOG » Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:40 pm

Today's Irish Times wrote:Plans to restore Leinster Lawn to be reviewed
Olivia Kelly

Plans to restore Leinster Lawn, which was paved over almost 10 years ago to create a "temporary" car park for the Dáil, are to be reviewed at an Oireachtas Commission meeting next week.

A delegation from the Office of Public Works (OPW) is to appear before the commission to discuss plans for a two-storey underground car park, underneath Leinster House, which would facilitate the reinstatement of the lawn facing on to Merrion Square.

Leinster Lawn was replaced by a car park in July 1998 as a "temporary" measure during the construction of new facilities for Leinster House. The planning permission for the work at the time required that the lawn be reinstated after the works on Leinster House were completed in 2000. However, this was never done.

The car park on the lawn is now mainly used by Dáil staff and journalists. Politicians have their own reserved spaces to one side of the lawn or in front of Leinster House. The facility is available free to all serving and former members of the Oireachtas.

Promises of an underground car park have been made since 2000. The OPW in late 2006 told the Oireachtas Commission, an 11-member group of TDs and Senators which is responsible for the facilities at Leinster House, that a car park under the building was feasible and could be completed by the beginning of 2011. The OPW had expected an answer from the commission earlier this year, but no decision was made.

However, the new commission, formed since the general election, has scheduled a meeting with the OPW on December 12th to discuss the matter and it is expected that detailed proposals will be put forward.

The restoration of the lawn has been the subject of consistent campaigning by environmentalists over the years, including Green TD John Gormley, now the Minister for the Environment.

A spokesman for Mr Gormley said that he has no involvement in, or responsibility for, the project in his new role. A decision on the project, which will also require Government approval, would allow the car parking at the Kildare Street side of Leinster House to be removed.

The meeting next week is also likely to focus on the long-term development of the Leinster House complex. Proposals including the possible construction of a new Dáil chamber, or major works on the existing chamber and the expansion of the complex to take over the neighbouring Department of Agriculture offices, were made by the OPW to the commission in September 2006.

The expected increase in TD members over the coming years will require the expansion of Dáil facilities. Leinster House, built as the home of the earls of Kildare in the mid-18th century, was bought from the family a century later by the RDS.


http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2007/1203/1196375209810.html

2015 anybody?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby KerryBog2 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:59 pm

If it goes underground, will it be Bertie's ultimate "Dig-out?"
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby fergalr » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:31 pm

The Fall by the Dail?
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby phil » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:45 am

Thought this was a good time to dig this up again. Walked passed it on a Sunday recently and noted how impressive it looked when not being used as a car park.

[Quote=Irish Times 26th September 2008]
Flooding and the craze for paving

*

Madam, - Like Minister for the Environment John Gormley, I am extremely worried about the flooding caused by people paving over their front gardens for car-parking ( The Irish Times, September 24th). This is happening at a furious rate. Just the other day I was walking along Merrion Square and I saw that some lout had paved over the front lawn of Leinster House. - Yours, etc,

AIDAN WALSH,

Rathgar Road,

Dublin 6.

[/quote]
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby SeamusOG » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:11 pm

Well, of course, we've heard all this before, but for what it's worth...

The Sunday Times, October 26th wrote:Paradise regained behind the Dail

Leinster Lawn to be restored after car-park plans are scrapped due to lack of funds Colin Coyle

They paved “paradise” and put up a parking lot. Now the government has been told that Leinster Lawn, a once lush green area behind the Dail and Seanad, will be restored.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) told Oireachtas officials last week that it plans to replant it in spring after plans for a 500-space underground car park at Leinster House were scrapped due to a lack of funds.

The lawn was taken away and replaced by a car park in July 1998 as a “temporary” measure. Planning permission terms from Dublin city council stated that it should be reinstated by the end of 2000. This never happened, and the site now has a reputation as one of the capital’s biggest eyesores.

The space has been used as a parking apron for Dail staff, journalists and occasionally, TDs and senators, who also have their own parking spaces to the side of Leinster House.

More recently the OPW announced it would build an underground car park whichwould allow the lawn to be replanted, but this has been deemed financially unviable.

An OPW spokesman said: “We plan to reinstate the lawn during the growing season next year.” Developers proved reluctant to take on the underground car park in a public private partnership. The Oireachtas argued that the park could be self-financing in 30 years.

Restoring the lawn has been the subject of campaigning by environmentalists since 1999, including by John Gormley, Minister for the Environment.

Ian Lumley of An Taisce said: “It’s about time . . . The Department of the Environment has a new strategy to prevent people from paving over their front lawns to reduce localised flooding, so it’s high time they heeded their own advice.”

Leinster House was built in the late 18th century by the Earl of Kildare, who predicted that others would follow from the more genteel northside. The Georgian squares around Leinster House became the destination of choice for aristocrats.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article5014954.ece
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby GrahamH » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:40 pm

Removal of Dáil car park opposed by some members of commission

MARK HENNESSY, Political Correspondent

THE TEMPORARY car park in Leinster House, which covered a historic lawn when it was created nearly a decade ago, is to be removed this summer, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission decided this week.

However, the decision to restore Leinster Lawn was not easily made, according to sources, and a number of members of the commission opposed the motion proposed by Fianna Fáil TD Michael Mulcahy.

Leinster House has 293 parking spaces which are used by members of the Oireachtas, some Oireachtas officials and some journalists. It will have 225 once the work is completed.

The Office of Public Works is prepared to offer 29 replacement spaces at other government institutions, but a spokesman last night said: “We will not be buying new stock.”

Minister of State at the OPW Martin Mansergh urged the members of the commission – which is responsible for running Leinster House – to agree to the change, which is unpopular with many in the buildings.

Leinster House, he said, could not seek to retain a development that should have disappeared years ago as part of the planning conditions that were given when a major extension called LH2000 was built.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey wrote a strongly worded letter to the commission, supporting the removal of the parking places and arguing that politicians had to give a lead on public transport.

The restoration of the lawn will be done by the OPW at a cost of approximately €200,000 – a far cry from the €500,000 figure that was pencilled in for the work in earlier plans.

That earlier figure was based on the assumed use of contractors to do the job. Using OPW staff will be more economical, Mr Mansergh told the commission.

Leinster Lawn, which faces Merrion Square in front of the Houses of the Oireachtas, was replaced by a car park in July 1998 as a temporary measure during the construction of LH200.

The planning permission for the work at the time required the lawn be reinstated after the building work was done, but this did not happen because the OPW deferred the work on the grounds that an underground car park was to be built.

The decision on Wednesday means that the car park, which would have cost €25 million and would have been open to the public, has now been deferred indefinitely because of the cutbacks.

© The Irish Times


You can tell it was written by a political correspondent!

So we're none the wiser as to how these spaces are going to be replaced. Where are 225 spaces going to be 'once the work is complete'? By my estimation, the Kildare Street courtyard/garage forecourt has 70-80 spaces. Accounting for the 29 spaces being offered elsewhere, what of the 120-odd shortfall?

The current arrangement on Leinster Lawn comprises approximately 70 spaces between the railings and the Cenotaph, and a further 50 or so on each side flanking the National Gallery and the Natural History Mueseum - totalling 170 spaces on the site of the Duke of Leinster's pleasure gardens. One can only deduce from the proposed reduction from 293 spaces in the whole complex to 225, that only the central Cenotaph-to-railings section of the Lawn is to be removed along with those at the railings end of the National Gallery flank.

Image

I wouldn't be surprised if the Kildare Street frontage was reconfigured to take some of the displaced spaces. A parking reshuffle you might say - true to form, an image exercise which achieves nothing.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:03 am

Graham theyre only removing the temporary ones between the obelisk and the railings put in a decade ago. I don't believe there ever was a proposal to remove all the spaces.
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Re: Leinster Lawn expected to be restored during summer recess 2005

Postby hutton » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:03 am

Paul Clerkin wrote:Graham theyre only removing the temporary ones between the obelisk and the railings put in a decade ago. I don't believe there ever was a proposal to remove all the spaces.


That might be so, but it's a missed opportunity to lift the bar - imagine a more integrated relationship between Leinster Lawn park with Merrion Square? Why not a corridor connecting the Natural and National museums, providing linkage amongst the 4 cultural institutions?

That's the problem with this area; incremental proposals or impositions and no overall plan The lawn by itself, the mooted natural museum extension, and the Unknown tomb of the Soldier recently erected within the park railings - seemingly no coordination despite all state controlled.

A little bit of imagination in handling this quarter could pay real dividends.
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