Councillors vote to preserve Pigeon House chimneys

Old power station in Poolbeg ceased operation in 2010

Pigeon House: Dublin City Council agreed last night to add the redundant 207m (680ft) chimneys to the Record of Protected Structures. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Pigeon House: Dublin City Council agreed last night to add the redundant 207m (680ft) chimneys to the Record of Protected Structures. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 01:00

Dublin city councillors have voted to preserve the ESB’s Pigeon House chimneys at Poolbeg more than eight years after the same proposal was rejected by the council’s conservation department.

The council agreed last night to add the redundant 207m (680ft) chimneys to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS), following the announcement that the ESB was considering their demolition.

ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty has said that carrying out the structural and repair works needed to keep the 680ft high twin stacks may not be the best use of resources.

The old power station in Poolbeg ceased operation in 2010 and, in a letter to former minister for tourism Leo Varadkar, Mr O’Doherty said a review of the site, currently under way, will be completed by the end of the year.

The ESB in 2007 announced its intention to close the power station and councillors subsequently voted to add the chimneys to the RPS. However, the council’s conservation department in 2008 said the stacks were not of sufficient architectural, social or historical value to be added to the preservation list.

Planning permission

Council chief executive Owen Keegan last night told councillors that the ESB could not demolish the chimneys without planning permission.

He said that he had received confirmation from Mr O’Doherty that “nothing will be done to the chimneys without consultation with the city council”.

Cllr Dermot Lacey of Labour tabled the emergency motion calling on the council to add the Poolbeg stacks to the list of protected structures because of their value as landmarks and elements of the city’s industrial heritage.

The chimney stacks could be transformed into a major tourist attraction by wrapping them in spiral ramps and creating a “sky bridge” between the towers, according to a Dún Laoghaire-based designer.