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Call for 'privileged elite' to open up city park to public

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Fitzwilliam Square Dublin

Fitzwilliam Square Dublin

Fitzwilliam Square Dublin

Fitzwilliam Square Park should be opened to the public instead of controlled by an elite and private association, according to former Lord Mayor Dermot Lacey.

The Labour councillor has now requested the city management to pursue the issue and open the amenity just off Pembroke Road for everyone to enjoy.

"The continued closure of this park to the general public is a scandal and should not be tolerated," he said.

"This is something that has annoyed me since I became involved on the council and something I wish to see changed," Mr Lacey added.

"City management should renew their efforts to have this remaining vestige of privilege abolished and restore the park to the people of Dublin," he urged.

Access to the park has been included as an objective in the current and previous City Development Plans.

"As we prepare to enter a New Year let 2015 be the year that thousands of residents and workers here in Dublin can enjoy the park right in the heart of the city that they are presently locked out of," said Mr Lacey.

"It is not unprecedented for parks like these to pass from private to public use," he added.

"Back in the 1960s, I think it was, the Catholic Church handed over Merrion Square for public use," he explained.

"I just think its private ownership is a legacy of the old ascendancy class and that in a big business district where we are trying to entice people it would be in everyone's favour if it was open to everyone," said Mr Lacey.

At present, Fitzwilliam Square Park is controlled by the not-for-profit Fitzwilliam Square Association Ltd, a company limited by guarantee and formed in 1971.

According to its Facebook page its mandate is to maintain the square and gardens and to conserve their unique history and special environment.

"Membership of the Association is open to businesses and individuals in the adjoining streets," it says.

Fitzwilliam Square was developed in the early 19th century when the surrounding Georgian houses were completed.

It was the last of the five Georgian squares in Dublin to be built.

hnews@herald.ie


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