We bailed out BoI, let's have their HQ
A CITY councillor has called for Bank of Ireland to give its historic headquarters on College Green to the Irish people, in return for bailing it out.
Cllr Nial Ring said, after the money Bank of Ireland had received from the tax payer, the "magnificent" and historical asset should be handed over, even by way of lease or loan.
He told the Herald: "In light of the amount they got from NAMA and with them reducing staff numbers, it's only basically used now as a branch. I want to ask them if there's any possibility they could give it to the people of Ireland.
"It would be something which could act as a gesture from Bank of Ireland -- it's a magnificent building."
Cllr Ring is proposing to ask Dublin City Council or the Taoiseach to take the matter up with Bank of Ireland, and to develop the building into an exhibition space or museum.
Alternatively he said Minister for Tourism Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin, or Finance Minister Brian Lenihan could act on behalf of the Irish people.
Senator David Norris, who previously proposed that the building be used to house the Senate, said he supported the call. "The people of Ireland now own the banks, and the banks have swindled the people of Ireland. Bank of Ireland should come into public ownership."
He added: "The whole Bank of Ireland is a protected structure so it would be absolute nonsense to suggest that the Abbey goes in there, but I'd be all in favour of an exhibition or a museum."
The 'House of Lords' part of the building contains famous large scale tapestries that depict the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne.
And College Green is Dublin's only major Italian piazza according to Cllr Ring, and opening up Bank of Ireland completely to the public would enhance the area.
"It's the only place you can get people into the one area and have a focal point on ceremonial occasions. When Ireland came back from the World Cup in 1990 people gathered there, and Clinton made his speech from there when he visited," he explained. "With Trinity just across the road, it is an iconic building in the city. It would be great if we could have exhibitions or something there."
A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland said it did not intend to dispose of the building "at this moment in time".
"For a 10-year period between 1996 and 2006 the bank hosted a variety of art exhibitions and public events in an adjoining premises, which was leased, located on Foster Place known as The Arts Centre."
She added: "Following an indepth review it was decided to close the building as it was deemed that the building, due to its age and facilities, was very limited in meeting the demands of modern day productions."
Bank of Ireland purchased the building on College Green for Â£40,000 shortly after the Act of Union on August 24, 1803, and since then the bank has used it as a working branch and an administrative HQ.http://www.herald.ie/national-news/city-news/we-bailed-out-boi-lets-have-their-hq-2144282.html