Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Can Some Good Come from the Dartmouth Square Controversy?

The travelling peopleGod never closes one door but He opens another. One of the great sayings of the Old Ireland and one that’s hard to believe in these cynical times, but we could be on the verge of seeing it proved true in Dublin City very, very soon. Kindness may yet have her day.

Noel O’Gara is a developer who has invested in Dartmouth Square, a green urban square of the kind that the Victorians delighted in building, situated between the Ranelagh Road and Leeson Street, just behind the canal, in the leafy heart of Dublin 6. Although Dublin City council had the opportunity to buy the site they – inexplicably – did not, and now Mr O’Gara and the local residents are at daggers drawn over what is to become of the place.

Clearly, Mr O’Gara’s original investment was with a view to making as much money as he possibly could. Karl Marx might not be thrilled, but we live in a capitalist world and Mr O’Gara wants his few bob. Equally, the local residents value the green space that’s been part of the neighbourhood since before Independence, and they value it greatly in this increasingly urban environment. Right now, the situation is at an impasse, and Mr O’Gara is threatening to turn the whole property into a halting site, and bedamned to the residents of Dartmouth Square.

So hurrah for Noel O’Gara, cries An Spailpín Fánach, with his heart thumping loudly in his breast. Gross indeed are the injustices and shameful calumnies that have beset the Travelling People in Ireland, and shame on us as a nation for having allowed this to happen. Obviating the current impasse by making this supremely generous gesture will surely make Mr O’Gara the toast of all right thinking people in this fine little country.

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