Call for special council meeting to discuss Dublin ‘cultural crisis’

Pending closure of Bernard Shaw pub has sparked ‘great anger’

Dublin’s culture and character are being replaced with “homogenous hotels and chain restaurants” and the capital faces a “cultural crisis”, a group of councillors has claimed.

The councillors who are members of the Green Party, Labour, and the Social Democrats have written to Dublin's Lord Mayor seeking a special council meeting to discuss the issue.

Green Party Arts and Culture spokeswoman said the pending closure of the Bernard Shaw pub and venue in Portabello, Dublin had sparked "great anger".

“It’s not only a great pub and venue, but it’s closure is a symbol of Dublin’s cultural crisis. Unique spaces which build Dublin’s culture and character are being replaced with homogenous hotels and chain restaurants,” she said in a statement.


“Dublin’s diverse night culture is being eroded rapidly,” she added.

Bodytonic, which operates the Bernard Shaw, a brewery, festivals and a number of bars and eateries in central Dublin and elsewhere, said on Monday it was with a “heavy heart” it would be closing the pub at the end of October. “We’ve tried really hard over the last few months to renew the lease, stay on longer, or buy the place. A lot of things didn’t go our way over the last 12 months either, but it’s out of our hands now unfortunately,” it said in a statement.

A cross-party request for the special meeting was submitted to Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe. The letter reads:

“Dear Lord Mayor, We the undersigned call for a special meeting of Dublin city council. The business of this meeting would be to consider the following motion.

That this council is deeply concerned at the increasing erosion of cultural life and space in Dublin City. Furthermore this council agrees to the following measures to help address this -

  • - initiate a variation of City Development Plan to limit the number of hotels being developed.
  • - initiate a review of the development plan to propose any other variations that can be made to urgently protect and promote nightlife and creative culture in Dublin.
  • - write to minister for tourism seeking an urgent meeting with representatives of this council to address the increasing erosion of creative cultural life in the city.
  • - write to minister for Culture seeking an urgent meeting with representatives of council to address the increasing erosion of creative cultural life in the city.
  • - write to the minister for justice seeking policy and legislative changes to protect and promote nightlife in Dublin, and to seek a meeting on this issue with representatives
  • - progress the appointment a night mayor for Dublin city, a role agreed in the Dublin Agreement that has worked well in other cities to promote the night time economy.
  • - establish a special committee of council to discuss how we can deliver multi purpose venues in the City to fill the rising deficit in space to foster and facilitate creative culture, as listed in the Dublin Agreement.

We would request that this meeting is held on September 23rd.

Yours sincerely,

Claire Byrne (Green Party)

Patrick Costello (Green Party)

Hazel Chu (Green Party)

Donna Cooney (Green Party)

Michael Pidgeon (Green Party)

Janet Horner (Green Party)

Sophie Nicollaud (Green Party)

Caroline Conroy (Green Party)

Lawrence Hemmings (Green Party)

Rebecca Moynihan (Labour)

Kevin Donoghue (Labour)

Gary Gannon (Social Democrats)

Patrick  Logue

Patrick Logue

Patrick Logue is Digital Editor of The Irish Times