Iveagh Markets group to protest at City Hall over ‘policy of silence’

The historic Iveagh Markets building in The Liberties. Pic: Gerry Mooney

Níall Feiritear

The Friends of the Iveagh Markets campaign group will hold a protest next week over what they claim is a “policy of silence” in relation to the historic building.

The group has accused Dublin City Council of a lack of engagement over the market building in the Liberties, which has become derelict since it closed in the 1990s.

Organisers have planned a protest, called Stand with Friends, to coincide with the next council meeting on Monday, April 3 at City Hall, Dame Streets at 5.30pm.

“We demand ongoing community consultation as things move forward,” campaigner James Madigan said.

The indoor market, built in Edwardian-style, first opened in 1906, but closed in the ‘90s after becoming rundown. The site became derelict thereafter, despite attempts to redevelop it as a food market.

The Iveagh Markets has huge sentimental value to the people who live and work in the Liberties area of Dublin, with family links dating back generations.

Dublin City Council recently directed the commencement of the process to preserve the roof of the Liberties building, which has been derelict for more than 20 years.

But the Friends of the Iveagh Markets group does not think this goes far enough and want physical work started without delay.

“We are protesting the Dublin City Council meeting. We have to stop these markets falling down,” Mr Madigan said.

The derelict interior of the Iveagh Markets building

“We are asking for stabilisation works to begin immediately alongside meaningful community consultation.

“We ask people who care about Dublin to attend and to share, re-tweet and spread the word. We need as much communication out there as possible.

“This is part of a wider series of awareness events we will be organising throughout 2023,” he added.

Dublin City Council’s Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Shakespeare, issued a statement last month to councillors informing them works on weatherproofing the market would begin after a mediation process came to end with no conclusion.

In response to a query from Cllr Deirdre Cronin regarding what works have taken place since February 1, the council replied it is “in the process of developing a tender package for the appointment of a conservation architect led integrated design team”.

“The tender documents will be issued in the coming weeks to an existing framework. Following appointment of the design team, DCC will agree and circulate a programme and costs for the procurement and undertaking essential repairs.

“In order to maintain security on the property it has been necessary to engage a metal fabrication company to replace the gates on the Lamb Alley side of the property and additionally to board gates and secure doors at the Francis Street side,” the council added.

The Friends of the Iveagh Markets group highlighted Kilmainham Mills as a contemporary example of best practice regarding conservation and community engagement.

“The Bridgefoot Park consultations are a really good example where the community had genuine input,” the group said.

“Sadly, at the moment, DCC’s policy of silence continues and although we have cross party support for the stabilisation of the Markets, we anxiously await positive news about the necessary funding being acquired.

“Works need to begin immediately and we are asking for a monthly statement on what progress is being made.

“And we ask that as many Dubliners come and stand peacefully with us at City Hall next Monday from 5.30-6.15pm.”