Conservation of north Dublin's Georgian core has been given a boost by the decision of Dublin City Council to relocate all coach parking away from Mountjoy Square.
The move, which follows lobbying by a number of different heritage bodies, means coach parking will now be relocated to the north quays near the Point Village, while the council also progresses plans to designate the square as an architectural heritage area.
The council and the National Transport Authority will also consider provision of a new central coach station to serve the capital. Dublin is one of only a handful of European capital cities not to have a designated coach station.
The decision to ban coaches from parking in the Square has already been welcomed by a number of bodies, including the Dublin City Business Association, the Irish Georgian Society, An Taisce, and both the Mountjoy Square Society and the Mountjoy Square Community Group.
Mountjoy Square was described by members of the Mountjoy Society as one of the capital's finest Georgian squares. It claimed the square has suffered neglect by city authorities over past decades. The society said businesses and residents in the area had done much to improve the area in recent years.
But commuter coach parking has been permitted in the Square since 1993 and, while legally confined to the south side of the square, has usually spilled over to the other sides and on to adjoining streets.
There was further good news for the area recently with lifting of threats to close Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station and the local swimming pool on Seán MacDermott Street.
Separately, Dublin Bus which had withdrawn services to the square last October, is to extend the number seven route there, in a move which will create a new cross city service via Merrion Square and Ballsbridge to Loughlinstown.
Following the council's decision, chairman of the Mountjoy Society Garrett Fennell said commuter coaches brought nothing to Mountjoy Square other than pollution, noise and congestion and they detracted from the area as one of Dublin's main Georgian Squares.
"Mountjoy Square is a mainly residential square with over 1,000 people living directly on it. It is also a key part of Dublin's Georgian heritage and has seen huge improvements over the last number of years. This decision to relocate the coach parking from the Square will be welcomed by the residents, businesses and visitors. We are delighted that the City Council has taken this measure for the protection, preservation and improvement of the Square as a special part of Dublin," he said.
A 40-page report prepared by the Mountjoy Square Community Group, which audited all coach parking in the city centre, identified ten different vacant sites around the city that potentially could be used as a coach park.
Backed by the Dublin City Business Association, the group proposed that the council could generate more than €100,000 per annum for city coffers by using a derelict site while also cleaning up the city by removing coach parking from places such as Mountjoy Square, Marlborough Street, and Merrion Square.