Sunday 21 December 2008

Developer Liam Carroll has been refused planning permission for a huge office-led development in East Wall in Dublin, which would have contained more

THE capital's "self-cleaning" and low maintenance Millennium Spire has cost more than €1.1m to keep gleaming and in working order since being erected.

The astonishing sum has been spent on extensive cleaning and maintenance programmes for the monument, which has been beset by difficulties for its six years in existence.

Dublin City Council said that €324,868 had already been spent this year on major lighting repairs and a major cleaning operation.

A massive crane had to be put in place to carry out the operation, which goes some way to explaining the huge cost of the work.

In 2007, the council spent a grand total of €435,633 carrying out the same type of work: a major cleaning and lighting repairs programme.

Between January 2006 and December 2006, they spent a total of €238,432 on the monument, whose lights have failed time and again since it was unveiled in
January 2003.

From then until the end of 2005, the council spent another €180,000 on maintenance and cleaning.

The €1.179m maintenance and cleaning is on top of the €5m spent on constructing the monument, which de­spite its failings has become a beloved landmark for denizens of the capital.

Dublin City Council said: "It should be noted that 2007 and 2008 were exceptional years in that major lighting repairs and cleaning took place in each year (this year because the crane and equipment were in place anyway).

"It should also be noted that the award of the maintenance contract for the Spire was carried out under a competitive tendering procedure.

"This exercise is currently under way again under the normal procurement procedures and regulations and a new contract will be awarded early in 2009."

The monument, which was described as "self-cleaning" when erected, has suffered a litany of technical problems since being installed.

Its lights have failed on at least five occasions despite the fact that the 1,200 bulbs inside were supposed to last for at least 20 years.

The 'Monument of Light' was also supposed to wash itself, keeping its sheen
as Dublin's plentiful rainfall rolled down its slightly
slanted sides.

Instead, the metal has become badly smeared and the joints between the individual sections become ever more obvious.

The lower section of the Spire has to be cleaned every morning at 7am and the first 12 metres are given a thorough wash four times a year.

The monument – one of the tallest pieces of sculpture in the world – was designed by the architectural firm of Ian Ritchie, the UK-based designer.

Sunday Tribune

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