Dublin retailers concerned over closure of O'Connell St for Lockout commemorations

Thursday 15 August 2013 19.51
Retailers are worried about the impact on trade during the closure of O'Connell Street for the commemoration
Retailers are worried about the impact on trade during the closure of O'Connell Street for the commemoration

Retailers in Dublin city centre have called for a reversal of the decision to close down O’Connell Street on 31 August to facilitate 1913 Lockout commemorations.

The Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID), which represents 2,500 businesses in the city centre, said the move will have a negative impact on trade in the area.

BID said the decision by the ICTU, the OPW and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will see O’Connell Street closed to all traffic.

The BID said the move, on the last Saturday before schools re-open, could see businesses lose up to 20% of expected trade and make deliveries to the Henry Street area impossible.

Organisers said they were advised to hold the commemoration on 31 August due to other events happening in Dublin the following day.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, BID CEO Richard Guiney said: "Our concern is that access to O'Connell St by which 65% people arrive at the city will be impacted and our experience is trade can be down by 20%."

He said: “Our concern is basically that for a two-hour event there is closure for an entire day."

BID said that not only will cars be stopped from driving through O'Connell St, but buses will also be diverted and "it is expected that 65% of the potential visitors to the city will be discommoded for a full day".

However, organisers of the commemoration said that due to events such as GAA matches, an Indian festival and Smithfield Horse Fair all taking place on the Sunday, they had been advised by gardaí to hold the commemoration the day before.

Speaking on the same programme, Padraig Yeates, author and member of the planning group, said they are willing to work with businesses to ensure the event is a positive experience for all.

"We'd be quite happy to go with the Saturday or the Sunday but we have to go with the advice we've been given”, he said.

Mr Yeates added: "We are anxious to promote the economy of the city, but we also need to commemorate this very important event."

The Dublin Lockout began on 26 August 1913.

There were a number of incidents of unrest in the city on 30 August, during which police baton-charged the crowds.

A number of people were injured and one man died from his injuries.

On 31 August, James Larkin addressed crowds from the Imperial Hotel on Sackville Street, now the site of Clerys on O'Connell Street.

Over 300 people were injured after police again baton-charged the crowd in what became known as "Bloody Sunday".

A multimedia exhibition on the Lockout will open at the National Library in Dublin next week.