Amazingly, a fire in derelict buildings in Benburb Street has disrupted Dublin’s LUAS light rail system for what will be a week tomorrow, Saturday 24th March 2012. Apparently, some of these building are listed for preservation. Therefore thousands of commuters and other public transport users are discommoded for a week and enormous costs are being incurred. There appear to be dozens of staff from the company that operates LUAS on duty to manage the disruption as well as possible. Very expensive and painstaking work is being done to make the buildings safe, while dismantling them to the minimum extent possible. These derelict buildings could probably have been leveled in a few days and huge unnecessary costs (direct and indirect) could have been avoided. Based on experience, the likelihood is that once made safe, the unoccupied derelict and buttressed buildings will be left indefinitely to grace the sub-skyline of Dublin city. Business cannot thrive in such an environment, valuable space is being wasted and a derelict area is unlikely to be safe for those who might wish to pass through.
As my photographs show, these buildings are of poor physical quality and were in poor decorative condition before the fire. I appreciate that some people feel these buildings are a part of our heritage and require preservation. I beg to disagree, with regard to the preservation, unless funds can be found to do the job really well. There are far too many derelict buildings along the LUAS line from Heuston Station to the city centre. Already a generation of Dubliners have had to put up with this dereliction. I do not consider that the preservation of these buildings in current cicumstances is sustainable or right. For me it is not sensible to penalize or burden the city of Dublin with run-down areas that no one can afford to restore or maintain in appropriate condition. Buildings from another era are not suitable for today’s civilization. They are not energy efficient, are not built to today’s safety standards and do not have the facilities that are expected in modern buildings.
As a taxpayer, I find it very hard to accept all the inefficiency, lost opportunities, unnecessary costs and risks that are associated with derelict areas in Dublin city.