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Dublin City Council Attempt to Restart Stalled Parnell Square Cultural Quarter

Grafton Architects

Dublin City Council has written to the Department of Finance and met with the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, in the hopes of obtaining €30m in Government funding for its Parnell Square Cultural Quarter and City Library.

As reported in Books Ireland, the Quarter was first announced in 2016 but the costs soared from €60m to €130m while a philanthropic drive by real estate firm Kennedy Wilson failed. Rather than abandon the plan, the Council opted to proceed with the project itself on a phased basis using its own funding.  Last July, Council Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, informed Councillors that the Parnell Foundation set up to raise philanthropic funding could not guarantee the money needed for the project. It was recommended then that Dublin City Council should go ahead with the library as Phase One, at an estimated cost of €80m. However it emerged in early 2019 that it was likely to take over three years to raise the money needed for the City Library, although An Bord Pleanála did grant planning permission. If completed, that would be Phase One of the project implemented with Phase Two being the refurbishment of remaining Georgian buildings on Parnell Square West and public realm improvements. In the latest move, the Council has approached the Department of Finance for Exchequer funding towards building the library. It is also exploring if funding may be available under Capital Support Schemes from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Even if Dublin City Council succeed in obtaining €30m from the Exchequer, that still leaves the remaining €50m to be sourced elsewhere.