ESB?chimneys: Dublin landmark

THE ESB has given a written guarantee that it will contact Dublin city officials before any action is taken on Dublin's iconic Pigeon House chimneys.

As concern continues to mount over the fate of the red- and-white towers, which ceased operating just over six weeks ago, renewed efforts are now being made to safeguard their future.

An internet campaign with thousands of signatures, pressure from local authorities and the promise of further applications for their inclusion on a list of protected structures have added to calls to leave the chimneys standing.

While stressing that no decision has yet been taken on their fate, the ESB moved to address concerns over the future of the chimneys.

In a letter to Eileen Brady, area manager at Dublin City Council, Poolbeg station manager Seamus Deeny stated: "I confirm the ESB will contact Dublin City Council before any demolition action is taken on the chimneys."

Installed in 1971, the structures have become a familiar aspect of the city skyline and are a much loved symbol of the capital.

Fingal county councillor Darragh Butler requested formal support for the chimneys to be placed on the list of protected structures but this has been rejected by Dublin planners.

Labour's Dermot Lacey, a vocal proponent of their conservation, said he is prepared to file further emergency motions for their inclusion on the protected list should they come under threat.

"If there is a threat of them being demolished then I will immediately reissue a listing motion," he said.

"Once the motion is passed there is a six-month period in which it has to be inspected but it has temporary protection immediately.

"I make no apology for using what little power we have [in the council] to maximum effect."

Lacey pointed out the chimneys' preservation could be brought into Dublin's development plan.

"While they are only 40 years old or so I think they do represent Dublin's industrial history," he said, adding that a museum could be one option for their future use.

Leading Dublin conservationist Damien Cassidy agreed: "They are landmark buildings that are costing the government absolutely nothing."

In the meantime, the ESB pointed out that Poolbeg is still a working site – there is another power station still operating there and maintenance is still being carried out on the striped chimneys.