Here is the lawful accurate honest submission I made to DCC on Friday 7th April. Today (Tuesday) I received a legal threat from BID/Dublintown.
Submission against the renewal of BID on behalf of BID members
Please find submission in relation to the BID renewal scheme.
1 This scheme is a grossly unfair scheme in that it uses a form of conscription to unjustly apply a double rate on many hard pressed businesses. Since its inception the BID scheme has steadily lost the confidence of its conscripted members. It has no impact whatsoever in any positive way on the City, on the cleaning of the city, on the security of the city and indeed on the commerce of the city. It simply duplicates in an amateurish way what Dublin City Council do very professionally. Indeed, the only professional thing the BID company does i.e. Dublintown is market and promote itself very well. It contravenes also, the promotion of Dublin City Council and central Government that Dublin is a growing European capital city. The current Dublintown branding, is a gimmick and misleading. They also are inclined to engage themselves in the rebranding of entire neighborhoods and business districts without any consent or indeed engagement with local residents, local business or indeed Dublin City Council itself. This has annoyed greatly, historians, and many residents and citizens of the city who do not want to see this historic city branded in this cheap and tacky way. Visitors do not come to Dublin to shop in tacky renamed districts like Dublintown’s South William Street Creative Quarter or the ridiculously named ‘Dame District’ or the bizarre title ‘Dublin 1’. Equally their purple flag status is more attuned to a British shopping centre district than it is to our historical city. Again, all of this is smoke and mirrors and fakery that are intended by Dublintown/BID to give the company a sense of purpose.
2 The members of BID over the past number of years have contacted me personally inter hundreds complaining about the unfair nature of the BID levy. Not only was this during the times of deep austerity but this is also in most recent times when the economy of the city is beginning to show signs of rebound and recovery. Many complain that Dublintown/BID and its staff act as if they are an authority and many shop owners and businesses feel actually intimidated by them. When BID has been asked to account for itself or is in any way challenged by many of its members it simply behaves in a hostile and threatening manner towards them. It is a non-transparent organisation and has refused on many occasions even in its own AGM, to supply vital information to its own members.
The arrogance of BID towards it members and indeed towards many communities in the city is breathtakingly disrespectful.
3. BID is represented on many of DCC’s forums and many many businesses feel that the BID view on these forums is contrary to their own views particularly in relation to the promotion of injection rooms within the city center and also with regards the transport and traffic rearrangements that are taking place within the city center. Many feel that the BID company Dublintown is entirely out of touch with the cities struggling economy. The potential danger that the new traffic arrangements pose to businesses and customers. It is quite obvious that the BID company Dublintown do not represent its members nor do they represent the business community there is very very little support, if any, for the renewal of the BID at this stage.
4 As a member of the BID board from 2014-2017 I myself experienced first hand the attitude of the executive of the BID and its Board. I am on record, I have written in the media on the issue and I wish to state here in my submission that it is my firm belief that Dublintown/BID is simply a private enterprise solely engaged with its own self-obsession. At board meetings, I was treated appallingly from the moment I arrived at the company. I was hindered in every single way possible in my attempts to get clarity and transparency and good governance into the company. At AGM’s that were attended by and large, by mainly staff and board members, the members who attended these meetings seeking answers were simply dismissed as cranks. They were not valued as members, they were not valued as individuals and in many incidences I witnessed the BID executive simply laughing and sneering at members while they pressed for answers to questions because the executive knew that an unjust law, the BID levy, was on their side and they could press gang members and use legal instrument to extract an unfair rate and then proceed to squander this money on trivia and amateur public spectacle in the form of ‘Dine in Dublin’, ‘Christmas in Dublin’ and ‘Dublintown Fashion week’ . This amounted to a visual pollutant on our streets to the great annoyance of many local businesses who saw their money being wasted in this manner on the promotion of Dublintown rather than on the city center and their businesses.
5 The BID was initially set up by people who had great love, great pride and great concern for Dublin city. The BID was designed and initiated to create a greener, cleaner safer environment and to promote the best that this city has to offer. None of its founding members are in favour of the BID today, as a matter of fact, they are on public record that the whole thing is gaudy and should be stopped. The BID/Dublintown got itself involved with the issues of drug taking on our city center streets. It failed entirely to impact in any positive way and instead got into bed with what can only be described as the pro-drugs lobby and promoted and supported drug injection centres in our city centre rather than treatment and detox centres. During my time as a board member of the BID the CEO never made me aware as a board member that he was actually on the Board of the Anna Livia Drug Centre, I only learned this recently. Even when making statements about the issues of drugs on our streets, the CEO failed to mention that he was a member of the Board of the Anna Livia Drugs project. In a nutshell, this organisation BID/Dublintown is more about ego and personality than it is about principles or enhancing the cities economy and the cities offering. Indeed, the CEO himself, has on a number of occasions attacked his own members both verbally and physically and at present An Garda Siochána are investigating a complaint of assault against the CEO.
6 In conclusion, as the person in charge of the oversight of the BID renewal scheme, I am now calling on you to make public and transparent a full and correct list of the register of those who are eligible to vote in the BID renewal scheme. This document to supply the business and the individual who the vote is made out to. That all votes handed out are numbered, stamped and secure. That no individual or company can sign multi-votes. That every single member be made aware that they can attend the count of the vote. The Dublintown be informed that they cannot use any monies belonging to the company in the promotion of a YES vote. That Dublin City Council as the agent and officers charged with this plebiscite make it known by public announcement press statement that there is a vast group of businesses who have formed themselves into a VOTE NO campaign against the BID renewal and that this campaign be given parity of esteem and the same facilities and platform that Dublin City Council affords the BID company Dublintown and assists it in all of its efforts for due process, balance and equal rights and equality in this election process.
It also should be noted, that I as an Independent Dublin City Councillor and former member of the BID board will be initiating a campaign on behalf of many members of the BID called the RIGHT TO EXIT THE BID COMPANY and I will be seeking permission to erect posters, distribute leaflets, hold public meetings in our effort to have the renewal of BID voted out.
Also, I have the full informed consent of many members to use the logos of their own company and paraphernalia in their campaign for a NO vote and there is no copyright infringements.
Dublin City Council has an obligation in law to inform every single member of the BID that they have the right to VOTE NO and that this is of extreme importance and they must do this by a public campaign. They have the financial resources to do this from the membership subscription.
Also, the law agent Terence O Keefe of DCC, be informed of all of these matters and also that he make a public statement that clarifies this complete renewal process.
Yours sincerely, Cllr Mannix Flynn