Dublin City Council says it will "deal" with any legal challenges to proposed restrictions on private cars in the city centre with more space and priority to be given to cyclists and pedestrians.

The plan is part of efforts to allow for social distancing in the city with footpaths already being widened by closing off parking and loading bays.

Chief executive Owen Keegan said details of further plans will be ready in a couple of weeks which could involve a ban on motorised vehicles in some areas after 11am and the temporary pedestrianisation of the College Green area.

There would also be rerouting of bus routes and extra street space to be used by city businesses for queues and outside seating.

The proposal was generally supported by councillors at the May meeting of the city council which was held with limited numbers in Dublin Castle.

There were concerns about the effect on city centre businesses, the role of public transport and the adequacy of cycling facilities such as parking.

Mr Keegan said there were some legal challenges that will be dealt with.

Carpark owners had already objected to works putting in a temporary Liffey Cycleway while the Dublin City Traders' Alliance has threatened High Court action.

An email from solicitor and developer Noel Smyth to Mr Keegan accused the council of using Covid-19 as cover to carry out an "illegal act" and called on the council to "cease and stop immediately".

The email states that the temporary cycle lane does not have planning permission and has not been subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Mr Smyth warned that legal action will begin unless an undertaking has been given to halt the works. 

A second email from Mr Smyth expressed concern at the announcement of further "drastic" traffic changes including the pedestrianisation of College Green.

Speaking on Monday evening, Mr Smyth said the Dublin City Centre Traders' Alliance had offered to pay half the cost of a study for the city council to examine how pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trams could move in a Medieval city.

"There is no study or information to say they are right or wrong," he said.

Mr Smyth previously threatened legal action when the city council sought to introduce the College Green plaza plan through its own powers under road traffic legislation.

The council then agreed to put its case to An Bord Pleanála which ruled against the plaza plan.