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Temple Bar board split over McDonald's

FOUR board members of the troubled Temple Bar Cultural Trust have distanced themselves from comments made by its chief executive over plans by McDonald's to open in the area.

McDonald's has lodged planning permission to open a three-storey outlet in Temple Bar, which will replace the Frankie Dettori-owned Steakhouse & Bar.

The company pledged the move would create more than 60 jobs.

The trust's chief executive Dermot McLaughlin told the Herald that he stood by comments he made last week that the fast food chain would not "contribute anything" to Temple Bar.

"Frankly, it is something we would abhor. It is an undesirable development for the area.

"Temple Bar was absolutely not designed with McDonald's or other big franchises in mind," he said.

Mr McLaughlin confirmed to the Herald this week that his comments remain the "position" of TBCT.

However, four of the board members have told the Herald that they were not consulted by McLaughlin prior to him making the comments.



Reckless

Board members Oisin Quinn, Maria Parodi and Kieran Binchy refused to give their backing to the statement.

And one member of the board, Independent councillor Mannix Flynn, told the Herald that the comments were "reckless" and "highly inappropriate". "As a board member of TBCT I wish to distance myself entirely from those remarks.

"TBCT does not have a policy of who can and cannot trade in the area.

"We are in a climate where over 450,000 people are unemployed.

"Here is an international brand offering employment and greater footfall opportunities for the Temple bar area and I believe that the remarks are a slap in the face of those that are desperately seeking work."

The Herald understands that TBCT is preparing an objection to the planning application, but so far no objections have been lodged.

This is the second wave of controversy to hit the organisation in the space of a month, after the Herald revealed how taxpayers footed the bill for two lavish lunches organised by the Trust that totalled more than €2,600.

The meals were held in February 2010 and 2009 at the award winning Eden Restaurant in Temple Bar -- which operates from a building owned by TBCT.

More than 50 people ran up bills of €2,644.80, which included 32 bottles of wine.

We further revealed that the costs of the lunches were offset against the restaurant's rent.

TBCT was established 20 years ago with most of its income coming from rent from properties in Temple Bar.

Dublin City Council is its 100pc shareholder.

hnews@herald.ie


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