Safety concern: the area around Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin

THE Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) has come under fire for refusing to install safety barriers around the Grand Canal Theatre despite numerous deaths and incidents of people falling into the water.

The Dublin City Coroner's Office has written to the DDDA on a number of occasions expressing serious concern following at least three inquests into deaths at the quay.

Although the authority says the matter remains under review, local residents claim they contacted the DDDA about their concerns long before anybody was killed and were simply ignored.

Esther Uzell, a former local election candidate and nearby resident, said the community is increasingly concerned at a lack of action and fears that more deaths are inevitable.

"We have seen four people killed so far. The last chap who went in – they found his body right in the corner," she said.

Uzell claims that the Docklands authorities had promised her family barriers but they have still not been put in place.

"There were two people recently who went in. There was a girl walking along on her mobile phone texting and she went straight in head first," she said.

"There was another guy that we witnessed ourselves going straight in. In the evening the light is very bad and so many people have said it actually blurs your vision."

The recent completion of the Grand Canal Theatre has added to concerns given the numbers of people it will attract to the area at the one time.

According to the Fire Brigade, there have been 54 incidents so far this year of people going into the River Liffey, compared to a total of 62 last year.

While it is not known how many of these fell in at Hanover quay, the majority of cases relate to the city centre area.

In recent years there have been at least three inquests into deaths at the quay and it is understood the family of one of the victims was assured that barriers would be put in place.

In a statement, the DDDA said: "The authority is working with Waterways Ireland to ensure safety in the Grand Canal Dock area."

It declined to specify exactly what measures were under consideration or likely to be implemented, or to comment on any correspondence it may have had with the coroner's office.