Council announces move to reclaim Iveagh Markets site

by Rachel Darcy

Dublin City Council (DCC) are moving to reclaim the Iveagh Markets – which have fallen into dereliction over the past 20 years – from developer Martin Keane.

The move was announced to councillors earlier this week, in a report from DCC assistant chief executive Richard Shakespeare.

In the report, Shakespeare said that hotelier Keane has failed to show the council that he has the adequate funding to develop the site, which has been idle for more than 20 years.

Keane was first given a lease to the markets in 1997 to develop the markets, with this renewed in 2004 with the promise that development would begin within 36 months of this lease being agreed upon.

He was granted planning permission in 2007, with this renewed again for five years in 2012, but the site has remained untouched.

Last year, a council-commissioned report said the markets were in an “advanced state of dereliction”, with repairs to halt any further dereliction on the Edwardian building expected to cost upwards of €13 million, before any redevelopment could begin.

The total project is estimated to cost €30 million.

In the letter to councillors, Shakespeare said that Keane advised the council on several occasions that he would lodge a planning application for the future of the markets ‘by the Autumn’.

However, a submission was not made by Keane until December 23, with Shakespeare saying “the application was lodged without the council’s consent as land owner”.

Shakespeare said that Keane was requested to provide evidence that he had sufficient funds for the project, but that the documents provided, to date, do not “satisfy the council” that funding has been secured.

The council has now confirmed that it has broken off negotiations with Keane on the future of the building, and are understood to have said they are willing to defend the repossession of the listed market building in the courts, if necessary.

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