Lord Mayor opens debate on Dublin Chinatown

Thu, Jan 26, 2012, 00:00

SHOULD A Chinatown be established in Dublin? This was the question posed at the inaugural Lord Mayors Chinese New Year Lecture last night.

The debate, took place in the Darc Space Gallery, near Dublins Parnell Street, where many Asian businesses have been established.

Chaired by Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, the event included presentations from Dublin City Architect Ali Grehan and Pauline Byrne, head of planning at Brady, Shipman, Martin.

“This has to be looked at in the context of Dublin and what sort of city Dublin wants to be into the 21st century and it strikes me that the idea of Chinatown is outdated. We need a new idea for how the Chinese community and other new Irish communities are celebrated,” Ms Grehan said.

Ms Byrne said the area around Parnell Street had been home to many different groups including Irish, African and Polish nationals, as well as the strong Asian influence which exists now.

She questioned whether by fostering the idea, it could go from an organic process to one which was forced, which had the potential to lead to commercial rent increases.

Chinese GP Catherine Chen, who has lived in Ireland for over 25 years agreed that the label of Chinatown was “old fashioned” but said a cultural centre under another name would have many benefits.