Una Mullally: Dublin has chance to be reborn amid Covid-19

Covid-hit economy and culture will mutate and prosper for creative and nimble

For some, the “death” of town may also provide opportunities that were previously unavailable to anyone without deep pockets and international investors. Photograph: Alan Betson

For some, the “death” of town may also provide opportunities that were previously unavailable to anyone without deep pockets and international investors. Photograph: Alan Betson

For a couple of years, a mural proclaiming TOWN IS DEAD was the first thing you saw when you turned off Capel Street in Dublin towards the fruit, vegetable, and flower markets. It was a hangover from a 2016 play of the same title by Philly McMahon and Raymond Scannell, but for a while, no one bothered to paint over it, and it became a wry comment on who the upswing in Dublin’s bustle was really serving.

At the start of March, I wrote about how Dublin was especially susceptible to the impact of Covid-19, and how, when the pandemic hit, we would understand how the capital’s prioritisation of tourism and transience would expose the city’s vulnerabilities. That has happened. Even as many smaller local businesses remain shuttered, the delusion of continuing the development of hotels and luxury student accommodation has now become a public health concern, with building sites shut down as the virus hit workers on sites.

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