Social Democrats Councillor Gary Gannon has accused Dublin City Council of adding insult to injury by making the funding of a major redevelopment project already promised for Dublin’s north east inner city contingent on the sale of the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street.
Councillor Gannon said:
“The deputy chief executive of Dublin City Council confirmed on RTÉ radio this morning that it intends to sell the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street to a Japanese hotel chain for €14.5 million, and that half of the sale proceeds will be ring-fenced for redevelopment in the local area.
“What he failed to mention was that these funds have already been earmarked by the council – for the redevelopment of a disused former school premises at Rutland Street. This refurbishment was part of a government-commissioned regeneration plan for the north east inner city published in February 2017.
“The Mulvey plan noted that the city council was committed to a funding package for the Rutland Street redevelopment. Many local people will be shocked to learn that the funding for this important redevelopment is actually contingent on the sale of the former laundry site. This proposal adds insult to injury to both local residents and laundry victims and survivors, who have been promised a State memorial to honour and commemorate Magdalene women past and present.
“The Sean McDermott Street site is the last former laundry in the possession of the state. We cannot allow this building to be demolished and replaced with another soulless hotel. The council says it will consult with survivors’ groups in the new year about a memorial on the site to be ‘stitched into’ an agreement with the developer.
“This is pure tokenism. What is needed is a thorough and considered consultation so that laundry survivors and their close relatives as well as representative groups can have a genuine and meaningful say about the appropriate use of this site, which could include a commemorative centre, a social history museum or a remembrance garden.
“I have recently secured agreement from inner city councillors to allocate €50,000 of the council’s discretionary budget for the setting up of a forum to bring together survivors and representative groups to consult on how they wish their experiences to be memorialised on the Sean McDermott Street site. This is something that the government itself has failed to do, despite its acceptance of the Quirke Commission report which make recommendations in this area.”
18 December 2017