Friday 9 October 2009

Iconic union building to be demolished and rebuilt

ONE of Dublin’s most iconic buildings, Liberty Hall, is to be given a complete face-lift to celebrate the centenary anniversary of its occupant SIPTU.

The plans for the new building were unveiled by the union’s general secretary, Joe O’Flynn, and architect, Des McMahon, at SIPTU’s biennial conference in Tralee yesterday.

At first sight, the new Liberty Hall appears similar to the existing building with a public entrance and conference centre topped by 16 storeys of offices and meeting rooms.

However, the premises will include a three-storey area above the offices comprised of a what the union says will be a major heritage centre, focusing on the history of the country’s labour movement, and a sky deck which will provide a view of the city.

SIPTU intends to make an application to Dublin City Council for the re-development within the next few weeks.

Joe O’Flynn said: "The present building is unable to meet the operational needs of the union in the 21st century as set out in the Strategic Commission’s report. SIPTU has seen its membership double since the current Liberty Hall structure was built almost 50 years ago. If you consider that the building has remained largely unchanged since 1965, the limited nature of the space and how it is configured has meant that re-development is the best way forward. In addition, we wanted to substantially improve the environmental performance of Liberty Hall in order to reduce running costs and cut our carbon footprint. In this context, we’re confident that the new Liberty Hall will achieve the best energy rating of any office building in Dublin.

"There was an overwhelming decision by SIPTU’s membership – as expressed in a consultation process – for the union to remain at its historic location on Eden Quay. The union has an unbreakable bond with the site, occupying the location for almost 100 years. Not only this, but the site holds considerable historical significance, with Liberty Hall playing a key role in both the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising."

Irish Examiner

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