LOCALS in Ringsend are furious that the iconic Poolbeg chimney stacks on Dublin's skyline for over four decades, could be removed.
It comes after Leo Varadkar, who was yesterday made Minister for Health, was told by the ESB that maintenance of the stacks might not be possible.
Damien Cassidy, from the Ringsend and Irishtown Environmental Group, has also hit out at any plan to remove the chimneys.
"These chimneys are part of our industrial history," he said. "They are a marker for people coming in to the country."
Elaine Fogarty (60), from Sandymount, said: "I've lived here all my life and I believe that it's a landmark. You see it in pictures and books everywhere," she said.
However, Shane Dodgson, (44) from Beech Road, said he wouldn't mind if they were taken down so long as it provided a benefit. He said: "To be honest, if they were to take them down and make the space available for something more beneficial for the community I'd be ok with that."
Sona Harrison (24), from Churchtown, told the Herald: "If you were to take a picture of them and show it to someone, they'd know where you're talking about, I'd say just leave them."
Mr Varadkar, speaking to the Herald yesterday, said he was completely against removing the towers.
"The towers are iconic. They are a symbol of our city and part of our heritage," he said. "As a Dub and as tourism minister I'd be appalled if they were taken down."
At 680ft-high, the chimneys are the largest structures in the capital and have been part of the skyline for more than 40 years. Poolbeg's oil-burning plant was closed in 2010.
Mr Varadkar wrote to ESB chief executive Pat O'Doherty on June 24 after noticing that the landmark was "not looking great".
In his reply, Mr O'Doherty said: "Maintaining disused towers is extremely complex and may not be the best use of resources, if possible at all."
A decision on whether the towers will be maintained is due to be made by the end of this year.