A large majority of Central Area Committee councillors in Dublin City have voted to retain the car-free status of Capel Street, although there was concern expressed about how the vote was held without advance warning.
The vote this afternoon follows from Dublin City Council releasing the results of its latest consultation in September which found that the clear majority of businesses and the vast majority of the public support continue to support a car-free Capel Street.
Moments before the vote this afternoon, some local councillors were still making out that the car-free status of Capel Street wasn’t fully agreed, and that it is only a trial. This has been subject to heated debate at previous local area council meetings.
Two independent councillors, Cllr Nial Ring and Cllr Christy Burke, raised the issue and then objected that the vote was not in order.
The vote was put to councillors by committee chairperson Cllr Ray McAdam (Fine Gael), who said that the committee has a lot of work on its agenda in the coming months and that he was giving councillors what they wanted.
Speaking after the vote to IrishCycle.com, Cllr Janet Horner (Green) also expressed some concern about how the vote was taken. She said she was strongly in favour of the project, but also in favour of a strong and transparent process which she said the council had delivered so far.
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Voting in favour were Cllr Darcy Lonergan (Green), Cllr Joe Costello (Labour), Cllr Horner, Cllr McAdam, Cllr Declan Meenagh (Labour), Cllr Cat O’ Driscoll (SocDems), Cllr Eimer McCormack (Fianna Fáil), and Cllr Colm O’Rourke (Fine Gael).
Two voted against — Cllr Ring and Cllr Séamas McGrattan (Sinn Féin) — while Cllr Burke abstained.
Not present were Cllr Janice Boylan and Cllr Cieran Perry.
Greening and other updates
In a report to councillors on the street, officals said that progress is to be made next year on greening the street.
The council said that Shopfront Improvement Scheme is to be launched to “encourage property owners and tenants to reinvigorate their business facades”, this will cover elements such as painting, flower boxes, and improved signage.
The junction of Ryders Row and Capel Street will undergo which officials said is “greening enhancement” in January 2023 to “make this entrance into Capel Street more welcoming.” This will be followed by a process of planning for further interim street improvements of Capel Street itself.
The report said: “Following a tender process, Bernard Seymour Landscape Architects have been invited to design an interim street improvement scheme to be installed before the summer. These designers are based on Mary’s Abbey, just off Capel Street and have extensive knowledge of the street.”
The report added: “The first stage in this process is to hold a workshop with councilors, local residents and local businesses to gain their views on what would work for the street. This is due to be held in the Capel Street area in mid-November and councilors, residents and businesses will be invited to participate. Following this initial workshop, a design will be advanced and further workshops will be held with the local community. This process will be driven by a collaborative approach.”