'Dublin needs to catch up and allow street art'

'Dublin Needs To Catch Up And Allow Street Art'
Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin in front of a mural, on Longwood Avenue in Dublin, celebrating the life of David Attenborough by a collective of street artists known as Subset.
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Vivienne Clarke

A member of Dublin City Council’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Strategic Policy Committee is calling on the Council to legalise public street art.

Willie White, artistic director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, told Newstalk Breakfast that it made sense to have a proper legal process in place.


His comments come in the wake of the announcement of The Public Art Mural (Exempted Development) Bill by Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin, who worked with artist collective Subset.

Mr White said Dublin needed to catch up with the rest of the country as cities and towns like Waterford, Drogheda, Limerick and Cork embrace and celebrate street art.

“There's been a long-running wrangle between Subset and Dublin City Council who've enforced planning, and in some cases made them take down murals. For example, the Stormzy that was down in Smithfield.

There has to be some kind of process, you can't just put up any old thing anywhere.


“There has to be some kind of process, you can't just put up any old thing anywhere. If you look for signs that Dublin's heart is still beating - and I cycled through the city centre this morning - there's lots of dereliction, there are lots of bland developments.

“I think street art is a way of giving a city character. There has to be a process, Dublin has to catch up.”

The proposal was about using neglected and overlooked spaces, he said. “I'm not talking about slapping some up on the Custom House, Busaras, Dáil Éireann or Trinity. I'm talking about neglected and overlooked spaces that could be improved with street art.

“We need to relax and catch up with the rest of the world, and there needs to be a process. For example, in Dublin City Council, there has been a public art officer since 2008. They've got expertise - so when somebody applies saying 'I want to put something in St Anne's Park or something on O'Connell Street', they're able to judge the merit of this."


“Similarly a process like this seems to be common sense instead of wasting loads of time pursuing arts collectives with the legal might of the City Council," he added.

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