Exchange, Temple Bar

Bill Hastings

Bill Hastings, Hanover Street, Dublin

In response to all who wrote to me regarding the situation at the Exchange Space in Temple Bar, thank you for your correspondence and the commitment that you’ve all shown for the Exchange and its ideas.

However, over the past two years serious issues have arisen in the area.  The primary issue is one of anti-social behaviour.  While this anti-social behaviour issue is a general issue for Temple Bar area itself, there emerged a specific issue around Exchange and some of its users.  There also arose an issue around certain weaknesses in the management of the building that Exchange uses.  On many occasions the residents in the housing complex at Smock Alley have witnessed and experienced threatening and abusive behaviour and in the many meetings that we have had with them both on the street and also in formal meetings that were attended by all stakeholders in the area (business, Exchange and Residents) these concerns were established as fact.

Initially Exchange responded positively to better management suggestions of the space and the issues abated.  However, they quickly reemerged to the concerns of residents who clearly identified the Exchange as a main source of their concerns.  Prior to the suspension a meeting was organized to take place between Exchange staff and DCC staff and the interim CEO of Temple Bar Cultural Trust (who own the building) to work out an amicable arrangement for the continuation of Exchange’s program at another location. Below is the answer to a question that I put before the Area manager of Dublin city Council.

I would like to say that I’ve continuously supported the Exchange in their activities and also in doing my best to retain them at their present location at Exchange Street.  I have liaised with the staff there for over four years now and have been staunch.  However it became very obvious that certain things needed to change in this area and in the management and the way it was being run.  This area is a residential area and people need to live together and cooperate together and show respect. That respect and trust broke down and now it needs to be fixed.  It was suggested that the Exchange be suspended for a period of 3 months at the most recent meeting to give everybody a chance to cool off, identify the source of the problem and take it from there.

It would have been better for Exchange management to explain to their supporters what this whole situation was about rather then creating the one sided affair that was making them out to be the victims.  Its this lack of responsibility to the overall area thats at the core of the issue here.

This is all normal stuff that goes on in the everday.  Its called solutions to problems.  It is not an attack on Exchange or its values.  It is about protecting Exchange, its values and the values of the neighbourhood, the residents and the local business community as well as visitors to the area.

Councillor Mannix Flynn

Can the Manager issue a report regarding the issue of unacceptable behaviour in and around Essex Street West, Cows Lane, Smock Alley?  This report also to include what methods are being employed to ensure effective management of Exchange centre at Essex St.

 Reply:

The Dublin City Council team at Temple Bar Cultural Trust(TBCT) have met with the Exchange following on a residents, councillors, businesses and Gardai meeting arranged by South East Area Office on Jan 23.

At a meeting between the CEO of TBCT and representatives of the Exchange on January 29th 2014. The following was agreed:

1.     The Exchange is a very valuable resource for many young people and has a dedicated group of volunteers working very hard to run events and provide a centre were young people can develop and express themselves though cultural and other social activities.

2.     TBCT and its owner, Dublin City Council, have understandable concerns for the competent and secure operation of the building and have had to deal with serious complaints from residents and businesses about growing anti-social behaviour in and around Exchange Street that affects everyone in the area including the Exchange and where some former members of the Exchange may be involved.  The Exchange has worked hard to address this but cannot do so alone.

3.     In order to protect and develop this service and to distance The Exchange from this behaviour, TBCT and Dublin City Council will assist The Exchange in vacating the building starting on Saturday February 1st 2014.  This will involve TBCT taking control of the building and over the week of February 3rd 2014 helping the Exchange move their equipment and furniture out.  Events at the Exchange that have been organised and booked in advance may still take place up to February 8 2014 by agreement with TBCT.

4.     It is Dublin City Council’s and TBCT’s intention to develop a working partnership with The Exchange and to help this co-operative develop new management structures and formal engagement with statutory agencies.

5.     It is also Dublin City Council’s/TBCT’s wish that the residents and businesses of the West End of Temple Bar be given the opportunity to review the anti-social behaviour in the area without the Exchange present for at least a period of three months.

6.     TBCT will on an event by event basis allow the Exchange to use Culture Box on East Essex Street subject to availability and written agreement. Culture Box may also be used by both parties to meet and work on future plans together.

7.     All sides acknowledge that in the short term events will be cancelled and young people will be disappointed and that this is regrettable, however all concerned want to focus on long term development.

8.     A review of this agreement will take place every month on the 1st of the month or as close to as possible.  After three months the viability of re-entering the current building will be assessed.

9.     Dublin City Council will use its best offices to secure another building for The Exchange if re-entry is not viable.

Meanwhile the South East Area Office and the Dublin City Council team at TBCT will work closely with all involved and the Gardai to continue to address anti-social behaviour in this area.

 

To extinguish or not to extinguish, that is the question.

Off Grafton St. Dublin

Off Grafton St. Dublin

Today was the final day to raise concerns around the public right of way at Tangier Lane.

 

To Whom It May Concern,

I wish to raise some observations regarding the proposal to consider the extinguishment of the right of way at Tangier Lane Dublin 2.

While I understand that this process is being initiated in order to combat anti-social behaviour in the area, that anti social behaviour will simply go to the next laneway or the next street or the next cul-de-sac and, in my opinion, is not a valid way of dealing with public domain anti-social behaviour and is not a very sound reason for closing off these intricate and curious laneways that dot Dublin city.

In many instants where these orders have been carried out the public are the losers and many of these laneways simply end up as rather unkempt storage facilities for the many businesses operating in the laneways, while the public are met either with an inappropriate iron gate or a wooden gate which has very little aesthetic no relationship to the architecture or shop fronts in the area.

At present, Grafton St and its quarter are undergoing rejuvenation and major improvements.  Special architectural conservation legislation is rightly being applied to these environs and consideration needs to be taken of the negative impact that the closing down of Tangier lane would have on the vision for Grafton Street.  In my opinion, what is needed to combat anti-social behaviour is more public domain management and enforcement through rolling out of more effective community Gardai and an educational process.

Public lavatories and conveniences would go a long way to curtail much of what the users of Tangier lane have to witness as they go to and from work.  The many agencies that dispense needles to intravenous drug users could be informed much more effectively in relation to how much impact their product has when it is dumped in laneways by their many clients.

I note that this request came as a result of the BIDS company and representation to that company by a number of businesses in the area, indeed, I’ve spoken to staff at the Gaeity Theatre and listened to their concerns with regards health and safety.  Those same health and safety issues are evident on King Street as well as on Tangiers Lane.  Is it foreseeable that the next step we’ll be taking will be to extinguish public rights of way in main thoroughfares.

I can well understand the case for residents in residential areas wishing to have laneways at the backs of their houses made more secure from anti-social behaviour and burglary.  The case is somewhat different when it is laneways in the centre of our city where there are few residential populations.

Given that unacceptable social behaviour, the numbers of people who engage in it and where they congregate is on the rise, I feel that this whole issue of extinguishing public rights of way in residential and business areas and in general needs a special consideration

Finally, if this application is successful, I would respectfully ask that in the planning stages serious consideration be given to the gates that would be placed at the entrance of Tangier lane.  That the original old Irish enamel signage (in Gaelic and English) be retained and remain visible at the entrance and protected.  And that this gateway would be opened in the daytime and also within this consideration that a wrought Iron gate would be the appropriate material allowing visibility and the presence of Tangier lane to be retained as opposed to the situation for instance on Wicklow Street and other areas where solid gates have been used to block off completely all visibility of the laneways.  It should also be considered that the laneway not be used for extra storage of barrels and bottles and rubbish etc.

In conclusion, I would like to request an oral hearing in relation to this matter at this particular location.


Yours truly,

 

Cllr Mannix Flynn

Independent Cllr South East Area, Dublin

Tangier Lane Notice