Former Dublin mayors call for inquiry over hoardings outside Mansion House
Gerry Breen claims the building is ‘becoming like an appendage to a commercial restaurant’
Fire Restaurant hoarding next to the Mansion House, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke
Former lord mayors of Dublin have called for an inquiry after hoardings were erected over a third of the forecourt of the city’s Mansion House.
The hoardings are to facilitate work on an extension to the restaurant on the north side of the house, but former mayor Gerry Breen has claimed the house is “becoming like an appendage to a commercial restaurant”.
He said the elected councillors who approved the works had been “sold a pup”.
Former lord mayor Mary Freehill said she believed the move was a “further diminution of the house” following the building of an office block to the south side in recent years.
Another former mayor, Dermot Lacey, said he wanted an explanation for the encroachment on what was “an important building in its own right, and an important building in what it is used for”.
Councillor Mannix Flynn, also a member of the protocol committee, said: “It would appear now that these works are having a negative impact on the Mansion House and every effort should be made to get this situation right.”
The restaurant is operated under a lease from Dublin City Council and planning permission was granted by the council itself.
But while some former lord mayors have been critical, Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn said he believed what was being done would bring the front of the house closer to its original design.
Two curved walls would have run from close to the house out towards the street, he said, but some of the wall on the north side of the building had been removed to make way for the combined entrance to the round room, the oak room and the supper room.
Under the new plan this entrance would serve only the round and oak rooms, while the restaurant would be served by a new entrance through the mayor’s garden. In this way, Mr Quinn said, the intention was to separate the restaurant from the Mansion House.
The upmarket Fire Restaurant seats up to 200 people. The plan is to increase that by about 60 seats and to provide a cocktail and piano bar.