An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision of Dublin City Council in granting permission for the subdivision of the Protected Structure, in which the James Joyce story “The Dead“ was set, to a 54-bed tourist hostel (reduced from 56).

The decision by An Board Pleanála comes after a number of appeals including from An Taisce against a decision notification by Dublin City Council in 2020. The appeals were notable for the wide support from literary and cultural figures, organisations, and academic institutions, both in Ireland and internationally.

An Taisce considers that the An Bord Pleanála decision has not been legally justified under the provisions of Section 51(1) Planning and Development Act 2000, which defines the criteria for "special" considerations for designation of Protected Structures and includes a range of headings additional to "architectural", namely "historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural scientific, social or technical interest". 

It would be hard to find a building where cultural significance is a more significant consideration than that of the setting of Joyce's "The Dead", which is the penultimate short story in Dubliners, and the location of director John Heuston’s acclaimed film adaptation.    

There are ample alternative opportunities for hostel development in Dublin without needing to negate the character of one of the city’s most culturally significant buildings.

The An Bord Pleanála decision further undermines the credibility of Dublin obtaining designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

An Taisce had specifically cited the relevant precedent of No. 14 Henrietta St. where a hostel development initially granted by Dublin City Council was overturned as a result of an appeal by us to An Bord Pleanála, and is now the city’s "Georgian Townhouse to Tenement Dwelling" visitor and cultural centre.