Council chamber proposal divides

by Gazette Reporter

A BRAND-new council chamber costing €800,000 may be erected above the exhibition space in the concourse of County Hall for future Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council meetings.
This is if the boundary report confirms the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government indications of an additional 12 new councillors.
The new design will be able to facilitate 40 councillors, plus council staff and visitors, whereas the present chamber – which is a protected structure – could not accommodate more than 50 people in total, due to fire safety constraints.
Pamela O’Connor, senior architect with the council, gave a presentation at a recent council meeting detailing the new space and claiming it was the most appropriate option as it does not interfere with the present protected building.
It can be constructed very quickly with a minimum of disturbance with a metal structure, which would be screwed together above the exhibition space in the concourse.
However, there were dissenting voices, with some councillors wishing to retain the traditional space of the protected chamber they currently inhabit.
Cllr Niamh Bhreathnach (Lab) said: “I am disappointed that the new design is not within the original building which has such strong connections with the foundation of the State and earlier.
“This chamber is an historic site of local government, and we need to open up a serious debate [about retaining it].”
Cllr Gerry Horkan (FF) brought up the timeline for the work on the new structure, and questioned whether or not the council would be reimbursed for such an expense.
“When would it be done, and when will the legislation be passed about getting 12 more councillors?
“Will we be reimbursed for the work – as we didn’t want these extra councillors – who will cost an additional €700,000 to the council, as well as the cost of the new chamber?”
Cllr Barry Ward (FG) said: “It’s a terrible shame to allow ourselves to be dictated to leave this room.”
In response, deputy county manager Kathleen Holohan said: “The estimate for the new chamber is €800,000, and I spoke to the Department of the Environment about the cost of [the] extra councillors, but haven’t written formally seeking funding yet, but I will.
“We have no intention of starting construction until we know the numbers [of extra councillors] for sure.”

Related Articles