Hundreds of people gathered in Dublin today to protest against plans to develop hotels at the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield and Merchant's Arch in Temple Bar
The popular traditional music pub is a protected structure, so it would be retained as part of the development, but its owner has outlined fears that the outdoor area and back room venue would be lost.
An Bord Pleanála has also approved plans for a four-storey over-basement hotel along Merchant’s Arch.
Protesters gathered at Smithfield Square at 1pm before heading along the River Liffey to Merchant's Arch and then on to Dublin City Council offices at Wood Quay.
Tomás Mulligan, manager at the Cobblestone, said he was “furious” at the plans, adding that his father had been leasing the pub for 30 years.
“They want to gut the beer garden, the back bar and the area to the side...we’re going to lose 70 per cent of our operational area. It’s going to starve us out of this building. We won’t be able to feasibly operate,” he said.
“I think people are just sick of this stuff. This is killing Dublin, this erection of mindless concrete. We don’t need a hotel, we’ve got one right across the road that you can get a room in any time you want.
“We’ve got a hostel down the way, the Generator, and along the Luas line three hotels have popped up over the last year even. There’s enough places to stay, there’s no need for this but mindless greed.”
Mr Mulligan said the pub had been a “home” for himself and his sisters, who learnt music there.
“People come to Ireland to come here. They come in and they’ll say, ‘We read about you in the Aer Lingus magazine’,” he added.
“There’s lessons going on here, fantastic musicians come here from all over Ireland as well as the world. Noel Hill was here last night... Steve Martin came in and played the banjo here one time.
“Everyone has come here that has any link to Irish music. To lose this place would be akin to abolishing mecca for musicians. It’s so important. You can’t kill us. If you do, what is this for?”
Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, one of the organisers of the event, said more than 25,000 people have signed an online petition against the development plans.
“We’re looking for people to get in as many objections as possible before November 4th to Dublin City Council. The proposals would change the Cobblestone completely and suck the life out of it,” he told The Irish Times.
“I think a lot of people are very angry over the lack of democracy in how the city is planned. We’ve obviously got a massive housing problem and we’re building hotels left, right and centre, and we’re also destroying cultural and historical sites in the process.”