Reply To: Henrietta Street

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From The Irish Times, 26th May 1994 (page 4):

By Frank McDonald, Environmental Correspondent

“Residents of Dublin’s oldest Georgian street are strongly protesting against the Corporation’s decision to proceed with work to fill in their cellars despite assurances from the Department of Arts and Culture that the issue is being referred to the National Heritage Council.
“Mr Michael Casey, who has owned one of the houses at Henrietta Street for more than 15 years with his wife and family, said the Department had ‘led us to believe that work would stop pending a report from the council, but at 8 o’clock this morning the Corporation started again without any notice to us.’
“He said the Green Party city councillor, Mr Ciaran Cuffe, had also been given assurances that no further work would be carried out.
“Mr Casey complained that in blocking up the under-street cellars, the Corporation was making it very difficult, if not impossible, for the National Heritage Council to gain access to inspect them.
“He accused the Corporation of seeking to pre-empt the council’s consideration of the matter, on foot of a ruling from An Bord Pleanala – in a case taken by the Corporation itself – that the cellars did not form part of the structures in the street which were listed for preservation.
“Mr Ian Lumley, who owns one of the other houses on the street, said last night that the reference to An Bord Pleanala had been made by the Corporation without the property-owners on the street being notified in any way, and all of the repaving work was initiated without any survey of the cellars.
“However, the Corporation maintains that the repaving of the street cannot be completed until the ‘foundations’ which support the paving – and the cars which are regularly parked there – are made safe. For its paving department, the primary issue is one of public safety rather than archaeology.
“‘We see ourselves as the saviours of the street’, said Mr Noel Carroll, the Corporation’s spokesman, referring to the long-standing scheme to repave it with traditional granite flags and limestone setts. ‘We are trying, at great expense, to improve the street with the works we are carrying out.’
“He said the Corporation was prepared to talk to local residents about its plans. ‘But in the meantime, we’re going to rectify a situation that is dangerous. We don’t want to leave ourselves open to accusations of negligence, so nobody is going to stop us lifting a shovel to remove this danger.’
“The repaving work was started over two years ago, but it was disrupted when the cellars of two of [the] houses apparently caved in. The Corporation is now seeking to fill in all of the cellars, but this is being resisted by the newly formed Henrietta Street Preservation Society.”

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