Mountjoy Square in Dublin has become a battle site between commercial developers and those wishing to preserve Georgian houses.

Although Mountjoy Square in Dublin has fallen into decay, it remains a fine example of a Georgian square that any city in Europe would be proud to possess and determined to preserve. 

Leinster Estates Limited, a company registered with their charted accounts Haughey, Boland and Company, has applied for planning permission for the demolition and rebuilding of 12 houses on the south side of Mountjoy Square.

Perhaps mindful of what has happened to Georgian facades in the Stephen’s Green area, the Dublin Corporation Planning and Development Committee recommended that conditional approval be granted for plans presented, but the proposed development must be in keeping with the square.

However, not all houses earmarked for demolition belong to Leinster Estates and the present owners can object to their proposals. An Óige, the Irish Youth Hostel Association, is the owner of one of the houses for which approval has been sought. They will not consent to the sale of their property and it is likely their concerns will be taken seriously.

Others will be given less consideration. Four of the Leinster Estates buildings provide homes for about 30 families, between 80 and 100 people. These families say the conditions they live in are appalling and the owners have been allowing them to decline, as ultimately they want to pull the houses down.

So, if the Corporation gives final approval to this scheme, Dublin loses another fragment of its past and 100 Dubliners lose their homes.  It seems a high price to pay for a new office block, even if it’s only five stories high and in harmony with its surroundings.

This episode of ‘7 Days’ was broadcast on 3 October 1967. The reporter is Brian Cleeve.