Plan to ban charity shops on top street is scrapped
COUNCILLORS have voted to drop a plan that would have imposed a ban on charity shops from setting up on Dublin's Grafton Street in the future.
The proposed ban was included in new planning controls being debated by Dublin City Council to prohibit certain kinds of outlets on the famous pedestrianised shopping street.
The list of shops that would "detract from the character of the street" had included sex shops, fast-food restaurants, hairdressers, off-licences, arcades and bookmakers.
The inclusion of charity shops had attracted criticism from people working in that sector.
However, an amendment to the plan, which removed charity shops from the list, received cross-party support at a council meeting last night.
It was proposed by Labour councillor Dermot Lacey and seconded by Fianna Fail councillor Mary Fitzpatrick.
It was also supported by Sinn Fein councillors.
Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan was one of 16 council members who voted against the amendment.
He said the street should look to attract the kind of people who could spend "hundreds of thousands on watches and jewellery".
Labour councillor Rebecca Moynihan said charity shops could provide a shopping experience you couldn't get elsewhere.
Her party colleague Mr Lacey said that charity shops "could add to the diversity and vibrancy of the street". It was carried by 29 votes to 16.
A spokeswoman for Oxfam, which runs a shop on South Great King Street, off Grafton Street, welcomed the decision.
"Had this proposal gone through, Grafton Street would have become the preserve of only people who have a lot of money to spend," she said.
"The shop offers an alternative in these recessionary times and we're also glad that the aesthetic contribution of Oxfam has been realised," she added.
Many shoppers on Grafton Street yesterday told the Irish Independent that charity shops should be allowed.
Jade Breen (24), from Rathfarnham, Dublin, said: "They have actually become quite fashionable over the past couple of years. They are quirky and you can often find a real gem in them. Hipsters would love to see charity shops on Grafton Street."
Dubliner Austin Hickey (38) said: "The idea that charity shops might bring in the wrong type of clientele to Grafton Street is a little snobbish, and I don't like it. I wouldn't have an issue at all with them."
And Leah Quinlivan (35), from Manchester, said: "The area would benefit so much from that spark of creativity you can only find in a charity shop."