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/