‘Garish’ advertising screens to be erected as part of Dublin Bikes deal

Council split on displays, part of deal funding scheme, with opposition from some D4 representatives

Advertising screens will be erected in Dublin 4 to pay for the Dublin Bikes rental scheme, despite opposition from An Taisce and local councillors. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Advertising screens will be erected in Dublin 4 to pay for the Dublin Bikes rental scheme, despite opposition from An Taisce and local councillors. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

 

Advertising screens will be erected in Dublin 4 to pay for the Dublin Bikes rental scheme, despite opposition from An Taisce and local councillors.

Councillors on Monday night agreed to the installation of the double-sided advertising panels known as Metropoles at Donnybrook Road, Shelbourne Road, and Pembroke Road in front of the US Embassy in Dublin 4, and at Charlemont Street in Dublin 2.

The council needs to install the screens to fulfil its side of the Dublin Bikes deal with advertiser JC Decaux. The screens are to pay for the service already provided by the company, and not to pay for any new bikes, the council said.

There was considerable opposition from councillors in the south east of the city to the screens at the embassy and Donnybrook in particular.

Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said the signs were “garish monstrosities”, while Labour councillor Mary Freehill said: “Areas like this set standards for the rest of the city”.

However, councillors from the rest of the city said they already had many advertising signs but few, or in some cases no bike stations. The southeast of Dublin has the highest concentration of bike stations at 47 per cent, but has just 25 per cent of the advertising screens.

‘Nimbyism’

Independent councillor Nial Ring said the south east councillors should “stop this nimbyism and snobbishness” while Fianna Fáil councillor David Costello said councillors in the south east were “not special” and should “suck it up”.

While all four sites were approved, assistant council chief executive Jim Keogan agreed to assess an alternative site on Merrion Road which, if it was suitable, could be swapped for the screen in Donnybrook.

In 2006, the council signed a contract with JC Decaux, one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, for the bike rental scheme. The bike service began operating in 2009 and was extended in 2010 by 100 bikes. To fund the extension the council agreed to 10 additional advertising screens, six of which have been installed but four of which remain outstanding.

The council said it had assessed 50 sites in order to find locations for the four panels. The council management had warned the number of bike spaces would have to be cut or annual subscription costs further increased if the screens were not installed.

The council has already proposed increasing annual subscriptions to €25 because the scheme, throughout the city, runs at an annual €376,000 loss to the council.

The plans for the four screens had been described as “nasty”, “contemptible”, “tacky” and “grossly offensive” by An Taisce’s heritage officer Ian Lumley.