Damage to the ceiling of the old Inchicore library caused by a burst pipe has “lit a fire under people to act”, according to one local councillor.
The historic building, which is set to go on a list of protected structures based on its architecture, has been shut since March 2020 after the library moved to a new location.
Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty told Independent.ie: “The building’s about 80 years old and was a functional library for decades.
“There were issues with accessibility due to steep steps, so the city librarian put a package together with ways the library building could be improved.
“Then Covid hit, and the plan was for the library to temporarily move up the road where it still is today. The doors have been shut since March 2020 and they haven’t been open since.
“They decided to keep the library in a new building because it might be a better location for the community. So, we put in some ideas as councillors for a new use of the historic building.
“We know so many groups all over the city don’t have space, whether they’re artists or community groups looking for somewhere to meet.
“Michael Flanagan, who’s involved in a local heritage group, invited people to come to a meeting and people said they wanted some kind of arts, youth space open to the community.
“So we asked if we could go into the building and have meetings there to have the space open again.”
As plans were ongoing for future uses of the building, it was damaged earlier this month due to a burst pipe.
“We got news in January that there was quite a considerable deterioration of the building over the cold snap. A pipe burst in the ceiling, bringing down a lot of it into the middle of the building.
“I was quite annoyed about that. This is what happens when you shut the doors of an old building like this and leave it for the guts of three years.
“There were no activities or buzz in the building to keep it going, there were no people there on a daily basis to monitor it.
“These things happen, pipes burst. But we significantly increased the risk of things like that happening. These types of buildings need attention, care, and need to be looked after,” Mr Moriarty added.
But now process is being made more difficult after part of the ceiling was destroyed.
“It’s frustrating, but the positive is that this has lit a fire under people. The building had to suffer so Dublin City Council (DCC) could get their act together and stop plodding along.
“DCC is very committed to the building being for arts, cultural and community use, now progress is being made.
“It’s not that they’d no interest in the building, it’s just that their interest was a bit more peripheral.
“Now there’s an urgency. Had that urgency been there sooner, this building mightn’t have had to have its ceiling fall in for people to start acting.
“Now it has shot up the priority list, but it shouldn’t have been let go to this bad point before they got their act together.
“DCC has been jolted into acting a bit quicker now which is the silver lining out of this,” he added.
A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: “The pipe burst occurred during a period of very cold weather in early December.
“This period saw freezing night time temperatures – the lowest for many years and the pipe burst would have probably happened regardless of whether the building was occupied or not.”
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