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Friday 19 September 2014

Carrolls told to close in Grafton Street row

Cormac Murphy

Published 17/02/2014 | 13:21

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Dispute: Carroll's gifts

CARROLL'S Irish Gifts has been ordered to close its Grafton Street outlet over an alleged breach of planning laws.

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Dublin City Council has served notice on the firm to shut its store at number 37 on the shopping thoroughfare before the end of May.

The local authority said that the operators had not secured the required permission for a change of use of the premises from a bookstore.

Carroll's was informed of the problem last October, having previously agreed a lengthy lease with the landlords.

In a letter submitted on behalf of the gift store by

planning consultant Simon Clear, the council was told the business did not think that permission was required, based on the local authority's definition of a souvenir shop.

The document pointed out the council categorises a souvenir shop as one “selling mainly memorabilia”, but Carroll's “is one of the leading retailers of quality Irish sport and fashion clothing and gift products”.

The products are sold “mainly as fashion items and accessories, not mainly as memorabilia/souvenirs or junk”, the

letter added.

HWBC Chartered Surveyors let the former warehouse building at 37 Grafton Street, on behalf of the landlord, Aviva Life and Pensions, to Carroll's.

It comprises 102.29 sq/m on the ground floor, with overhead and basement stockroom accommodation.

HWBC said at the time that there was strong interest in the property, with four rental proposals received all around the quoting level of €250,000 a year.

In the letter to the council, Carroll's argued that the local authority set a precedent on Grafton Street by allowing the Disney Store, which sells the global company's merchandise, to open without submitting a change of use application.

Disney is located at numbers 60 and 61, which was previously a fashion shop.

“Dublin City Council cannot apply differing protocol to other retailers in the same precinct, particularly to Irish retailers retailing Irish products –

providing and sustaining Irish jobs and retaining profits in Ireland,” stated the document, details of which appeared in the Sunday Times.

The council has not commented on the dispute, other than to say that Carroll's has until May 30 to comply with the demand that the store be shut down.

The firm was established in 1982 and stocks Irish brands.

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