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Now they want to axe cobbles in Temple Bar

TEMPLE Bar's famous cobblestones may become a thing of the past by 2016.

Chief executive of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) Dermot McLaughlin has revealed €12m plans which will "restructure the cobblestones" by 2016.

The news is likely to be welcomed by high-heeled pub-goers but could lead to a backlash from traditionalists.

Mr McLaughlin stated that he wants "better entrance and exit points so that if someone is in a wheelchair, or pushing a buggy, or wearing high heels, they would not have difficulties getting around".

And from this week, four giant umbrellas costing €2m will be erected in the area's Meeting House Square, in order to protect visitors from bad weather.

However, the news of the cobblestone plans has reignited tensions with board members of the troubled organisation.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn -- who at this month's board meeting called for the resignation of the trust's chairman, Matt McNulty -- described the plans as "ludicrous".

"This is another example of the chief executive of the trust making outlandish statements about the future of the area without consulting board members.

"The cobblestones in Temple Bar are iconic. They are part of the fabric of the area and are a special characteristic of Temple Bar.

"How can Mr McLaughlin reveal long-term plans for the area when an independently-commissioned report has called for TBCT to be wound down?"

A report commissioned by Dublin City Council and carried out by Latitude consultants earlier this year said the trust should be scrapped within three years -- a move that could save the council €800,000 per year.

According to the report, the trust had an income of €2.2m last year, 86pc of which was derived from property and related activity, with the remainder from grants.