ALMOST a year after the illegal demolition of a Victorian railway station in Dun Laoghaire, the local council has been asked to clarify whether it will be rebuilt.
Last May, An Bord Pleanála ruled that part of the Victorian Carlisle pier in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, which holds considerable historic significance, should not have been destroyed without planning permission.
The famous train-shed building on the pier had served as a backdrop to seminal moments in Irish history – not least Michael Collins' departure to Britain for treaty talks and the exit of British forces after independence.
Heritage group An Taisce recently wrote to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to ask the council what it would do to ensure the structure's reinstatement. It was the latest exchange in a stand-off between the two bodies.
A council spokesman confirmed it had held talks with the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company regarding its plans and that a timeframe was now in place.
"In the event that the harbour authority fails to submit its proposals, the council will take the appropriate legal remedies available to it," he said.
But perceived delays in the process have angered An Taisce, which feels its initial protestations at the demolition were ignored.
In a letter to officials, Gene Feighery, chair of the local branch of An Taisce, said it was time the authority showed signs that moves were being made to rectify the situation, a source of considerable public outrage.
"I know it will be a financial burden on them; I am not looking for blood, I am just saying it's an iconic pier that belongs to the people of Dun Laoghaire and they should not have done what they did," she said.
Ian Lumley, An Taisce's heritage officer, said at the time of the demolition that the council had "colluded" in the unauthorised operation by virtue of its inaction on the matter.
The harbour company sought legal advice before it proceeded with the operation and had been told planning permission was not required.
However, An Bord Pleanála ruled that last year's demolition was not exempt from planning requirements and referred the matter back to the council.
While the specific structures of the pier were not protected, the Bord ruled that the pier's floor area of 1,000sq m exceeded the limit of 100sq m as specified in 2008 regulations regarding demolition.
The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company failed to respond to queries surrounding its intentions.