No to BID Campaign Outraged at DublinTown’s Refusal to Appear at Public Debate

PRESS RELEASE WEDNESDAY 12TH JULY

No to BID Campaign Outraged at DublinTown’s Refusal to Appear at Public Debate

 

The No to BID Campaign has today (Wednesday 12th July) expressed its outrage at the refusal of DublinTown (formerly Dublin BID) leadership to appear at a public debate ahead of a vote on the renewal of the initiative.

 

Commenting on this, No to BID Campaign spokesperson Kim Condon said; “we are extremely angry and disappointed that DublinTown have refused to engage in the public debate organised for today. It is yet another example of their lack of transparency and the dictatorial style of leadership they engage in. The No to BID Campaign were very eager for business owners in the City Centre to have a chance to hear the issues properly debated in a public forum. As we have not received any response to our invitations, we are now forced the cancel the venue.” 

 

The public debate on the renewal of DublinTown (formerly Dublin BID) was organised for 6pm this evening at the St Stephen’s Green Club with an independent moderator to oversee the event.

 

Dublin BID (operated by DublinTown) is a company which was set up in 2008 following a vote of Dublin city centre businesses. It is charged with improving Dublin City as a commercial district. Businesses in the district pay a compulsory levy of 5% of their commercial rates. DublinTown is renewed every five years by a vote of businesses in the district. The vote this year is overshadowed by a groundswell of anger and mistrust from businesses over a proposed 34% increase to the levy and highly-contested footfall figures.

 

The No to BID Campaign has been gathering momentum this week, with the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association and the Irish Hairdressers Federation all declaring their support for the No side.

 

ENDS.

Mnx-Flyer-DublinTown2017-A5.indd

Legal Threat from BID (Dublintown)

The bullyboys of Dublintown/BID are trying to censor us, close down a democratic right for a NO campaign in the forthcoming renewal scheme for the BID (Business Improvement District).  Hundreds of small struggling businesses are forced to pay a double rate that is grossly unfair.  They have asked me to represent them and create a campaign on their behalf in support of their right to Exit the BID by voting NO to the BID scheme renewal in June/July 2017.

I served on the BID board for two and a half years, so I’m in a strong position to have a valid and honest opinion based on facts.

The members of the company have given me the right to use what they see as their intellectual property – logos, etc, in order to get their message across. That they no longer want to be part of the BID.  They no longer want this company demanding money off of them under legal threat.

These are genuine people who are conscripted into the BID scheme and they find it grossly unfair.  On the other hand, the BID company is an ego trip with a grandiose idea of itself spending large amounts of money on self-promotion while the business district is in shambles and shops are emptying.

It’s a sorry day when public money is used by a private company to try and close down free speech, independent opinion, and democratic process. Dublintown/BID was set up by statute.  Dublin City Council’s Rates Department collect a rate on it’s behalf. It is in fact a public entity and has to be open to full scrutiny and challenges from all of us, especially elected representatives.

We are all too aware in this country of what’s going on in the institutions and the so-called trusted entities.  The BID company – Dublintown, does not have the confidence of the vast majority of its members and that is obvious in their attempts to legally bully anyone who gets in their way and especially those who I support in their right to exit the BID.

 

Here is the legal letter that I’m putting into the public domain in the interest of openness and transparency.  The submission that I made to Dublin City Council (2 days ago) is protected under the data protection act so it’s extremely odd that my correspondence in relation to this matter to Dublin City Council was handed over to the BID company.

(I will post my submission as a separate blog shortly)

 

 

BID legal

Legal Letter from BID in relation to a submission I made to Dublin City Council.  Where is the data protection? 

Earlier today our printers received a legal letter telling them to stop printing posters Cllr for Mannix Flynn on foot of legal threat.  This again is outrageous, underhand and legal bullying.

 

But I have no intention of stepping back of reneging on the many small businesses who asked for my support.
LOGOvotenoJoin the campaign.  Spread the word.  Call into shops and support the small businesses and not self-serving entities like Dublintown/BID.

NO TO THE BID RENEWAL SCHEME.

Find out more on the No Campaign website     http://www.notothebidcampaign

Dublin Civic Trust Bookfair Saturday 10th December

Saturday 10th December 2016 from 11am until 5pm, Dublin Civic Trust  who now reside at 18 Ormond Quay Upper Dublin will hold a book sale of their  many publications covering interests from the streets of Dublin to best practice in maintaining your heritage building.

Perfect Christmas gifts, walking tours of Dublin, Conservation and restoration manuals, Trees of Trinity, and many, many more…….

Drop in and get to know the Civic Trust.  They Rock!

bookstore-front

 

 

 

 

Call to action, all Dublin northsiders

 

Brendan Walsh

Dubliner                                 (Photo: Brendan Walsh)

 

It would appear the DublinTown/BID company is hell bent on generally demonising and othering the North side of this city.  I am a member of the DublinTown/BID board and I wish to entirely distance myself from the attached report that was presented at this afternoon’s financial meeting at Dublin City Council.

It seems that the CEO, Mr Richard Guiney, thinks he is running this city and that he can make generalised pronouncements as ‘fact’ regarding certain parts of the city.

Fear and crime in Ireland, not just Dublin, is a big issue. Fear of crime is a global issue and is well-documented, but it is seldom used to demonise an area, a neighbourhood, a community.  Somebody has to come to the defence of the great Northside of our city and the fantastic people that live and work there. DublinTown/BID was set up to improve area’s (the clue is in the name- Business Improvement District).  It was rebranded ‘We are DublinTown’ to be more inclusive and welcoming.  But when it starts to demonise and ridicule whole parts of the city, in my view, it is time to challenge Mr Guiney and his board and the whole idea of what DublinTown/BID  actually is.

As an Independent City Councillor, I have a deep loyalty to my city and its citizens and a duty to Dublin City Council.  Dublin City Council should come out and defend the city and the politicians of the Northside should come out and defend that part of the city against Mr Guiney’s and BID’s slurs about its character and good name.

Nobody has questioned DublinTown’s findings  in the attached report or where he got them from.  Nobody at the meeting today of the Finance SPC questioned him on them other than me.  On the contrary, they broadly endorsed Mr Guiney’s presentation, obviously completely unaware that he was going to present his report to the RTE news as a fait accompli. Of course, the media picked up on his negative portrayal of the Northside of our city in a sensationalist headline that doesn’t help this city in its many struggles. Or assist the many individuals and residents who go out every day to make the place a better place.

Twenty years ago, Limerick city was greatly damaged by this same kind of media coverage of reports like these and it has taken the citizens of Limerick to the present day to shrug off and counter the stigmatising of that great city.  As in Limerick, short term sensational headlines did most of the damage and DublinTown and Mr. Guiney are now engaged in that same practice and Dublin will suffer greatly as a result of their careless recklessness toward the businesses and citizens of this city.

The reputation of Dublin and in particular Dublin’s Northside is at stake here.

DublinTown/BID is not a statutory organisation.  It should not be given a carte blanche platform to put out these reports. I am constantly questioning DublinTown/BID and the manner in which it is allowed to conduct its business in this city.  It carries a big business agenda and ignores SMEs and shops and as, in this report, it recklessly ghettoises a large part of the commercial and residential district. In my opinion, this renders BID unfit for purpose as it is negatively branding the north side of the city and spreading more loathing and fear. Not even An Garda Siochána would put out such a report and description.

For an organisation like DublinTown/BID to be doing this is an agenda of destruction, disregard, and disrespect for the city’s northside. City dwellers, especially northsiders should stand up to this and defend their city from the likes of DublinTown/BID who exist on a rate payers’ levy that is akin to a ransom demand according to most small business who are in a deep financial struggle to even exist.

For a company that is given rate payers’ money and allowed do this with it without being challenged is an absolute disgrace. Shame on the DublinTown/BID company, its board and its CEO for this action and these outrageous statements.

They should unreservedly apologise to the northsiders of Dublin for undermining them and stigmatising them in such a fashion.  If they were to do this to Grafton Street or indeed, South William Street there would be an unmerciful outcry.  We need now to hear the real voice of the Northside. The real voice of all Dubliner’s who love their city.

Mr. Guiney of DublinTown, instead of creating unity and a shared city that we can all enjoy, is creating a city of divide and foreboding and this at the expense of the city and its citizens, and he gets rate payers’ money to do it.

Given the day that’s in it, Bloomsday, where we celebrate the greatness of our city in all its guises from the Monto to the Sandycove Martello tower – it’s time to defend Dublin in all its aches, pains and glories.

Up the Dubs.

Link to RTE report: http://m.rte.ie/news/2016/0616/796148-dublin-opinion/

Draft Tree Strategy – Dublin City Council

Below is a PDF file of the Draft Tree strategy for Dublin City.  There is an opportunity for people who  live in Dublin to comment and give observations and suggestions on ‘treeing’ your City.

8. Presentation on Draft Tree Strategy

  • Please email observations/submissions to treestrategy@dublincity.ie
  • Closing date Fri 29th April

8. Presentation on Draft Tree Strategy

Update on Works in Merrion Square Park, Dublin City Council

Merrion Square Park, Dublin

Merrion Square Park, Dublin

There are a large number of recommendations in the Conservation and Management Plan for Merrion Square Park and these will be undertaken on a phased basis over the coming years.

The current works which include the restoration of the historic perimeter path and the grassing down of a short link path, along the south-east corner of the park are well underway. It is necessary to knock a small section of the park depot to facilitate the installation of the perimeter path and this will be undertaken shortly. It is anticipated that the installation of this path will be completed by the end of July. In the meantime, re-graded soil areas will be seeded, allowing lawns to have sufficient growth to allow immediate access to the area when work on the paths has been completed.

The civil works at the Oscar Wilde Sculpture have been completed and planting will occur week commencing 17th June and the installation of two benches and a small interpretative sign will be undertaken by the end of June.

Treatment of the ESB sub -station is also being investigated to determine how best to repair and enhance this prominent building within the park. It is anticipated that work will commence on the building as soon as an appropriate treatment for the building has been agreed.

Additional works, including the widening of the footpath along Merrion Square North in keeping with the historic design for the park, will commence in the autumn and will be completed over the winter months when sculptures in the park will be moved to this location and appropriate period seating installed.

It is also considered that the design of the proposed tea rooms, to be located in the vicinity of the Oscar Wilde Sculpture and the playground, will commence in the autumn and Part 8 planning requirements completed over the winter and early spring 2016.

Every effort is being made to minimise any inconvenience to the public during these works and a full programme of events will be held in the park as normal over the summer months.

Save the enjoyment of busking/street performance

BuskingThe art of busking as it is known, is a centuries long tradition.  It sits alongside the street trading traditions that we have in our cities.  Where it differs now is that street performance/busking, as it is now known, is totally unregulated and therefore unmanageable and ungovernable.  More and more street performers are engaged on our streets which is a good thing and now a world renowned practice.  So much so, that the likes of the Edinburgh festival and the Sydney Fringe festival thrive as a result of the outstanding standard of street performance and busking.  Those standards and achievements were made because of the making of strong regulation and bylaws that Edinburgh and indeed Sydney were able to rely on to ensure public enjoyment of the performances and indeed enjoyment of the public domain.  They go hand in hand so to speak, like Estragon and Vladimir. Not so in Dublin at present.

The villain here is the amplifier.  And amplification that totally dominates voice and acoustic instruments and bombards the publics sensibility as they try and go about their business in some of Dublin’s most iconic and busiest streets.  The amplifier in busking and street performance  is like a virus.  It has the same effect as foot and mouth.  It kills creativity and wards off other artistic individuals who wish to use our public streets as a cultural platform.

The current campaign to retain amplification is largely being orchestrated by one outfit.  A managed band that uses excessive amplification and in my opinion (and those of the many citizens who have written to me on this issue) dominates the atmosphere in certain streets with amplified noise.  It is easy for many of their supporters to walk up these streets and out of these streets.  However, if you live and work in these areas you don’t really have that choice at all. The pro-amplification supporters don’t have to put up with the constant noise day in day out, hour in hour out.  It is rather selfish and indeed arrogant for certain street performers/buskers to be insisting that they have more rights than any one else in the public domain.  This is not in keeping with artists and arts practice.  And is certainly not in keeping with cultural democracy and cultural participation.

The Glen Hansard’s of this world and the Hot House Flowers, Paddy Casey etc all used acoustic instruments to great effect back in the day.  And went on to be the successful world artists that they are today.  Nobody is trying to stop busking or street performance but it can only thrive through proper legislation and management of the public domain for the public good. Indeed, many of our finest traditional street performers who use non amplified instruments cannot compete and are moving elsewhere to quieter places.  It is many of those buskers that I have personally spoken to who believe that the amplifier is the death knell of the tradition of busking.

The set of bylaws that are at present before the City Council regarding street performance are extremely generous to buskers and performers but they are not so generous to residents, workers and indeed citizens who are sick and tired of the noise and obstruction that is an almost daily occurrence on certain Dublin streets.

We are inundated now as Councillors with hundreds of emails of concerned individuals who are confused and misunderstand what’s actually happening at City Council regarding the new bylaws this evening.  Again most of these emails are visitors to Dublin or people who do not live within constant earshot of the amplified noise and repetitive sound of the same songs being played over and over again like bad karaoke.

The stage is to be shared after all, it is the public domain.  You share the stage with your fellow artists, with your audience and your public.  No fellow artist or act should continuously upstage or dominate the atmosphere by persistent indifference to others.

I feel it is time for certain buskers and indeed Dublin City Council to turn off the volume and listen. Tonight I will be proposing a temporary ban on all amplification for buskers and street performers for 12 months.  In 12 months time the whole street performance bylaws will be reviewed and amendments made if necessary.  Equally if there is a strong case presented or made for the use of amplification in certain areas where it won’t be a noise nuisance to residents and others, so be it.

For too long certain buskers and street performers have had it all their way regarding issues of noise.  It is not today nor yesterday that citizens became annoyed at the lack of consideration due to amplification in busking and street performance.  There was an attempt some time back at a voluntary code for street performers.  It didn’t work. These  new bylaws are coming as a result of what was learned in trying to implement the voluntary code.

The best performance now that certain buskers and street performers could do, is to support this temporary suspension/ban. That would certainly enshrine them in the eyes of all the public, of all the workers and all the residents in the city.

Graciousness, humility and serenity as well as dignity and a sense of purpose to society is the hallmark of any would be artist in any art form. And excellence is the marker.  But none of them compare to the respect that you afford your audience or your would be audience of society as a whole.  This city, Dublin, is a landscape of conflict.  An urban space full of hustle and bustle, trespass and forgiveness where we all rub up against each other, sometimes in the wrong way. But we usually beg pardon and as Samuel Beckett would say ‘we are obliged to each other’ and we move along in good fashion.

A city can only thrive as a result of tolerance.  It can never progress with intolerance or anti social behavior. Certain buskers and street performers need to become more aware of the need of others for quietness, for balance so that everybody can enjoy what is theirs. The public domain.  The present bylaws are primarily driven to ensure an equal playing pitch for all. If we continue with the present regime it can only erode public admiration for the art of busking and street performance.

To ensure that this does not happen, I’m calling on all my colleagues to support the public’s call and the many acoustic playing street performers and give us back our friendly noise free streets from loud noisy amplified busking/street performance.  Enough is enough.