By Mary Seery Kearney
In 1906 the 1st Earl of Iveagh built and gifted the Iveagh Markets to the people of Dublin, to be run by Dublin Corporation as public markets.
The beautiful Victorian styled covered market complex on Francis Street with distinct and valuable architectural features still stands, but only just. It is now in dire need of immediate restoration and re-development.
Since 1993, it has been the subject of three separate restoration announcements by either a developer or the City Council. The Iveagh Markets has been left derelict for nearly thirty years now. It is currently unsafe and in an advanced state of dereliction.
Two years ago, the current 4th Earl of Iveagh, took possession of the Iveagh Markets in a historic move to ensure that the intention of his family that the markets were a facility for the people of Dublin would be honoured. I recently met with Ned Iveagh to discuss how this substantial piece of Liberties’ heritage can be saved from collapse and invited him, and locals who comprise the Friends of the Iveagh Markets Group into Leinster House while I raised the issue with Minister Malcolm Noonan.
The Iveagh Markets is on the way to the Storehouse and would be the perfect location for the restoration of an artisan food market that tourists and locals can shop and enjoy street food under the cover of the shelter of the market, similar to markets in cities like Barcelona, or the English Market in Cork. I would love to see it follow that model following a sensitive restoration, done in consultation with local residents and the community who are anxious to see it restored to its former glory.
The people of the Liberties deserve to have life breathed into the beautiful Markets building, and Dublin City Council, the Minister for Heritage and all stakeholders must seize this opportunity to create employment in one of the oldest and most historic locations in our city without further delay.
Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South Central and spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth
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