Sir, - An Taisce in Dublin city supports the recommendations of the Competition Authority and the zeal of An Tanaiste, Mary Harney, concerning the creation of more pub licences.
Our concern is not an economic one. It is that the obliteration of the original and authentic character of the Dublin pub has gone too far. Creeping expansion is the current, inelegant way of meeting rising demand as pub after pub is extended upwards, downwards and outwards, manned by walkie-talkie-carrying bouncers and themed with (fake) "pub character". Since An Bord Pleanala moved to prevent expansions in Temple Bar, An Taisce has been monitoring a dramatic increase in pub/nightclub applications and extensions in adjoining areas, particularly the area between Dame Street and Dawson Street. Since over-expansion is happening apace we call on the Minister to move swiftly.
We suggest a structured approach which would encourage the addition of modern cafe-style smaller pubs to complement the existing stock.
The immediate sale of 200 licences for small pubs in the Dublin area - additional to the existing 800 - at, say, £750,000 each, would also create revenue that might be spent on expediting a comprehensive Luas system. - Yours, etc., Michael Smith,
Chairman, Dublin City Association An Taisce, Tailor's Hall, Dublin 8.