Council to vote on charity shop ban

Charity shops could be prohibited from opening on Dublin’s Grafton Street

Councillors to vote over proposals for charity shops on Grafton Street. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Councillors to vote over proposals for charity shops on Grafton Street. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons


Charities will learn tonight whether they are to be banned from opening shops that fund their work on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

Dublin city councillors will this evening vote on the introduction of new planning controls which would prohibit certain types of retail outlet from opening on the city’s main shopping street on the grounds they “would detract from the character of the street”.

‘Unsuitable’ list
Charity shops are proposed for inclusion on the list of shops which would not in future be granted planning permission. The list also covers sex shops, off-licences, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, euro stores and bookmakers among others considered unsuitable for the street.

Fundraising Ireland and the Irish Charity Shops Association have asked the council not to go ahead with the ban which they suggested was based on snobbery and could cut off a source of potential donations from charities. They also objected to being put “on a par” with businesses such as sex shops, bookmakers and amusement arcades. “Quality charity shops can increase footfall and unless Dublin City Council has evidence otherwise, we would have to question whether their decision is based on snobbery,” Fundraising Ireland chief executive Anne Hanniffy said.

Oxfam Ireland which has a shop on South King Street, off Grafton Street, said the proposals did not take into consideration the modern-day charity shop experience. “We are disappointed that these proposals haven’t taken into consideration the evolution of charity shops like Oxfam’s into fashion destinations in their own right. Our shops offer consumers a great value alternative that is eco-friendly and has the feel-good factor,” chief executive Jim Clarken said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick is tabling a motion at the meeting to remove the ban on charity shops.“As long as charity shops comply with the planning standards being required of other retailers on Grafton Street they should not be subjected to negative discrimination,” she said.