A controversial banner supporting Dublin GAA will no longer be displayed on the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin following a spate of complaints on social media last year.
The banner, which reads “Up the Dubs” and “Dublin City supporting the Dubs”, was previously placed on the bridge in the city centre during finals involving Dublin. The practice began in 2011.
It became a point of debate on Twitter after Irish Times Consumer Affairs Correspondent Conor Pope shared a photograph of the banner on April 4th, 2018, with the caption: "Seriously, Dublin City Council? Can we not have just one nice thing?"
The tweet drew many responses and the banner was later removed, with the council saying its future use on the Ha’penny Bridge was to be reviewed.
Records released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act show the decision has been reached to no longer use the banner on the Ha'penny Bridge.
In a series of emails, Paul Clegg, executive manager of planning and property management at Dublin City Council, said that after consulting another local authority official, the decision to stop using the banner came “down to a decision as to whether the erection of a banner ‘materially affects the character’ of the protected structure”.
The Ha'penny Bridge is a protected structure and it was agreed that this location is not suitable for displaying such banners
The opinion of the officials was that it did affect the character of the bridge.
“It was discussed and agreed at a recent management team meeting that it was not appropriate to erect banners on the bridge in future,” including the few days before any potential future All-Ireland finals featuring Dublin, Mr Clegg said.
A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council confirmed the decision to The Irish Times. "The Ha'penny Bridge is a protected structure and it was agreed that this location is not suitable for displaying such banners," she said.
No official complaints were received concerning the banner, she confirmed, with the majority of the feedback coming from social media users.
Single phone call
Internal correspondence mentions a single phone call concerning the sign, on April 6th – the caller apparently cited the inability of tourists to take photos as grounds for the banner’s removal.
“The culture and recreation department have no records of official complaints; however, there were a number of phone calls (numbers not recorded) in relation to the banner on the Ha’penny Bridge. There were also a lot of comments/debate pro and against the banner (location) on social media/Twitter. There were media queries also,” the spokeswoman said.
Though the banner will no longer appear on the Ha’penny, the spokeswoman said it may be used in the future to support the Dublin team.
“During the 2018 Championship the banner was relocated/displayed on Fairview Bridge for a few days before games and removed in the following days,” she said.