Local Struggles in Dublin : Dominick St


In times past Dominick Street - developed in the 1750s by the Dominick family - was the “first settlement” of fashionable Dublin and much favoured by “the quality”. It housed such notables as William Hamilton; the mathematician who was elected the first foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA was born in No.36, horror writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu in No.45, and Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith in No.4.

However, the street went into decline after the Act of Union and most of the houses had become slums before Dublin Corporation flats replaced them1. What has yet to be replaced, though, is the fighting spirit of the people in Dominick Street and the surrounding areas.

In May 2003 a particularly successful Reclaim The Streets party was held in Dublin – just at the back of the Ilac Centre. Amongst the participants were many local kids and some of their parents. Shortly after some of the residents approached some of the RTS organizers to see could something similar be organized to highlight the dangerous traffic situation on the street – up to 11 children had been injured on the road which motorists were using as a speedy short cut around the councils one way system.

This was a fairly historic meeting between exponents of free rave parties and a long suffering Dublin working class community. Another party was organized followed by a series of joint blockades involving RTS and other small groups of anarchists and some other socialists. Residents issued their demands that “Dublin City Council must make our street pedestrianised or install road ramps”.2

And they got them – quietly with out any fuss or comment - traffic calming ramps have appeared relatively recently in Dominick Street. Of course, being capitalism, the laws of cause and effect need not operate. Ramps appear a couple of years after successful blockades and parties – no connection is implied – no coverage necessary – we wouldn’t want people to “feel” their victories too keenly!

2006 and a redevelopment of the flats, planned via Public Private Partnership, is opened by Bertie (or one of his doubles – golly gosh how that man gets around!) with much aplomb. “…it is vital that the local community itself is involved in the development plans in a meaningful way and Dublin City Council have taken some important steps to ensure that this is the case – said he at the launch.3

It remains to see how this will go but we can be sure that the people of Dominick Street having had their eyes opened and having won twice before - will hardly be fooled again.

1 http://www.irish-architecture.com/buildings_ireland/dub....html
2 http://www.indymedia.ie/article/49619
3 http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=200&docID=2779

This article is from the North-City Anarchist, March 2007

More articles from this issue are at http://www.wsm.ie/story/2063