Wednesday 21 February 2018

Future of 'iconic' chimneys in doubt as protection motion to be debated

The iconic Poolbeg chimneys
The iconic Poolbeg chimneys

Clodagh Sheehy

THE future of the landmark Poolbeg chimneys in Dublin Bay hangs in the balance as councillors are due to discuss an emergency proposal to protect them from demolition.

A motion to have them included on the list of protected structures will be discussed by the south-east area committee meeting tonight. The twin chimney stacks have divided opinion for decades as to whether they are Dublin icons or just eyesores.

The motion was tabled by Labour councillor Dermot Lacey, who insists the ESB has a written agreement with the council since 2010 that it would inform the local authority if there was any question of demolishing the towers. "We wanted the chimneys on a list of protected structures four years ago – and the ESB asked that we wouldn't do that on the basis that if there were any intentions to do anything with them, they would come back and talk to us again," said Mr Lacey.

"I recall that there was no case for them being listed architecturally but there is an argument for protecting them on a heritage basis."

Tonight's motion follows indications from the ESB last week that the whole future of the former power station was being reviewed and a decision would be made before the end of this year.

The ESB plans were listed in a letter to Leo Varadkar just before he moved to the Department of Health. Mr Varadkar had written to ESB chief executive Pat O'Doherty about preserving the chimneys. Mr O'Doherty had responded that this might not be "possible at all".

Meanwhile, a glass sky bridge with a bungee platform running between the two chimneys is part of an ambitious proposal to ensure that the landmark is retained.

Interior designer Michael O'Mara is campaigning for retention of the ESB chimneys.

"I see the chimneys as an iconic feature and as an opportunity to make something better of them now they have been decommissioned," he said.

Irish Independent

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