Charity shops given reprieve by councillors

Dublin City Council votes not to ban stores from Grafton Street yet keeps off-licences on the list of shops which will not be granted planning permission to locate there in the future



2 July 2013

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Charities have been given a reprieve by Dublin City Councillors who have voted not to ban their shops from opening on Grafton Street. Councillors were last night (Monday) asked to consider the introduction of 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". Charity shops were proposed for inclusion on the list of shops which would not in future be granted planning permission. The list also covers off-licences, sex shops, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, euro stores and bookmakers, among others considered unsuitable for the street.

In his report to councillors, acting assistant city manager Jim Keogan said charity shops were recommended for exclusion from the street due to concern about the growth of "lower end retail". Charity shops were welcome in "all parts of the city, with the exclusion of Grafton Street", he said. "It is considered that this use would not promote higher order comparison retailing or contribute to Grafton Street’s status as the premier city centre shopping street."

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said the ban displayed an outdated attitude to charity shops and that as long as they comply with the planning standards being required of other retailers on Grafton Street they should not be subjected to negative discrimination. Independent councillor Mannix Flynn had supported the ban and said Grafton Street had become "somewhat of an eyesore".

A joint Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin motion calling for charity shops to be removed from the list of prohibited outlets was passed by 29 to 16 votes and the rest of the planning control scheme was approved.



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