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Crackdown on 40 gaudy city centre shopfronts

FORTY investigations were launched as part of a clampdown on gaudy shopfronts in Dublin city centre.

But only three of the planning enforcement actions went to court, with two of those cases still ongoing, Dublin City Council has revealed.

The probes were instigated following a 2011 report from heritage body An Taisce accusing the authority of neglecting the city's historic core.

An Taisce alleged the council had allowed a proliferation of "lower-order shops", many of which had put up garish signs in breach of regulations.

Of the 40 investigations – centred on the Dame Street, Westmoreland Street, Aston Quay and Wellington Quay areas – 10 were resolved after the shops were issued with warning letters.

A further five were settled following a visit from a planning enforcement officer and another five cases were closed because of a lack of evidence.

The council has now initiated similar studies for Thomas Street and Moore Street.

"With respect to Moore Street, a report to a recent city council meeting recommended action in relation to unauthorised shopfronts and signs.

"A planning enforcement officer has been designated to undertake the survey.

"The study will form the basis of the council's resolve to support the Moore Street Improvement Committee's efforts to improve the appearance and to address the multiplicity of unauthorised developments within the street."



Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said he is satisfied "planning enforcement in Dublin is rigorously enforced.

"Despite cutbacks and scarce resources but given the economic downturn it has made it easier to focus attention on the reduced number of planning enforcement issues."

The local authority revealed that, in the 12 months to May 20, 2013, a total of 741 complaints into breaches of planning regulations were resolved city-wide.

In 72 cases, it determined the violations were so small as to be not material.