Dublin’s Iveagh Markets ‘re-secured’ after city council establishes 24-hour security at site

Historic market has been the subject of legal wrangling for almost two years and its future remains uncertain

Dublin’s Iveagh Markets has been “re-secured” by the city council after it established 24-hour security at the historic, dilapidated site on Friday.

The markets have been the subject of legal wrangling for almost two years and its future remains uncertain.

In 2020, Edward Guinness, fourth Earl of Iveagh, invoked a clause from a 1906 deed entrusting the property to the council, stipulating it would revert to Guinness if it ceased to be used as a market.

On Friday, Dublin City Council issued a statement saying that “following the decision by Lord Iveagh to withdraw security at the Iveagh Markets [it] has today re-secured the building and organised 24-hour on-site security.”


A statement in response issued on behalf of Lord Iveagh said he “stands behind the ongoing arrangements to protect the Iveagh Markets whose preserved structures gifted to the people of Dublin, which remain in a vulnerable state.”

Much attention has been focused on the fate of the Francis Street building in Dublin’s Liberties area, which closed a quarter of a century ago.

Edward Cecil Guinness, the first Earl of Iveagh, built the market and gifted it to the people of Dublin at the beginning of the 20th century.

Now, it lies in a state of substantial disrepair and its ultimate use is the subject of an ongoing mediation process in the High Court.

Hotelier Martin Keane agreed a long-term lease with Dublin Corporation to develop the Iveagh Markets commercially, over 20 years ago.

Having failed to do so, despite two planning permissions, the local authority sought to repossess the property in 2020, a move Mr Keane challenged in the High Court.

At that point, Lord Iveagh invoked the so-called reverter clause in the 1906 deed, prompting legal action from Mr Keane and three of his companies.

In 2018, essential repairs to the site were estimated at over €13 million, although this later rose above €23 million.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times