| 20°C Dublin

Residents are 'locked out' of landmark park

RESIDENTS in the prestigious Fitzwilliam Square in central Dublin have been left feeling "locked out" of their private park.

The park in the centre of the square, which has been the focus of anti-capitalist protests in the past, is currently off-limits to the wealthy homeowners surrounding the square because vandals have glued the gate locks shut.

Residents include Lord Ballyedmond, Mr Edward Haughey; Sir Anthony O'Reilly; and Danielle Ryan, granddaughter of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan, who recently purchased the plush townhouse of Image publisher Kevin Kelly.

The garden is privately owned by the residents of Fitzwilliam Square, so only they have keys to the park, which is generally not open to the public.

"It seems odd that this vandalism is happening and I suspect it could be a display of anti-capitalist behaviour," said one resident. "There have been a few protests about Fitzwilliam Square over the years; indeed a number of protesters actually occupied the gardens to object to the fact that it is not open to the public."

The Fitzwilliam Square Association -- representing residents and business owners occupying the houses, which are mostly offices -- was told last week: "While the gardai are monitoring the situation we also ask for members to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity."

The company which runs the park on behalf of residents said that it was in the process of having the locks unglued and apologised to residents for any inconvenience.

A letter from the Fitzwilliam Square Association to the residents stated: "Unfortunately it appears that Fitzwilliam garden has been the target for vandalism over the past several weeks. It has come to our attention that a few of the locks have been glued shut so we are in the process of having them fixed."

A resident said yesterday: "Some people seem to have an issue with the fact that the square is owned and maintained by the residents. But it's been a private space for about 30 years and will continue to be so until the lease expires in about 120 years' time. I just think it's unfortunate that some people have such disregard for the Georgian heritage of Dublin."

Sunday Independent