November 20, 2002 at 1:17 pm #705825
Why has nobody ever considered moving the Houses of the Oireachtas back to their rightful place of the Parliament Building (Bank of Ireland) on College Green? The current situation of Leinster House was never more than a rushed decision on the part of Michael Collins, when he purchased the House as Minister for Finance from the RDS for Â£68,000 in 1922. It is hardly fitting for the nation’s parliament to be housed in a murky converted Victorian lecture theatre tacked on to the side of a big townhouse built by a
twenty-something year-old with a big ego. We have the world’s first purpose built, two chamber parliament building, and one of the the greatest Palladian structures in Europe sitting 3 minutes walk away from Kildare Street, that is occupied by an organisation which uses it simply as an advertisment, (although they sold it about 8-10 weeks ago for a measly 15 million).
It is entirely possible for the Dail chamber to be housed in it’s magnificent Cash Office and the Seanad in the distinguished old House of Lords. Also the building is very self contained for security purposes. Of course the usual bloody issue of parking spaces crops up, why can’t TD’s walk from Kildare Street? And there is parking to the front for minister’s cars and space for receiving visitors. Of course issues regarding office space etc would have to be resolved but I’m sure there are plenty of rundown buildings clamped in there between the Quays and College Green that could be snapped up and an undergroud car park built. And Leinster House could be then used for the much more fitting use of residence of the Taoiseach, an issue which has been renaged on since the foundation of the State. College Green is the very heart of the country, it’s central location very civic, and can only be benificial to have the presence of country’s parliament felt more in the city, after all, it is the capital. Hardly likely to happen though, considering the cosy campus situation of Leinster House and Government Buildings, the costs involved and the ignorance towards built surroundings in this country.
At the very least, those barracading railings and piers outside Leinster House (they’re (only!) late 19th century) and the monsterous modern ones that go down the sides, infront of the Ntl Library and Museum should be removed, acting like a barrier between Government and the little people, and the plaza area originally intended with the building of the Victorian institutions restored. Their curved colonades and steps are obliterated by them, and they look fantastic in old photographs taken before the railings were erected. A suitable home could be found for the railings and the impressive gates.November 20, 2002 at 1:53 pm #722872
But wasn’t it given to Bank of Ireland under the condition that is was NEVER to be used as a parliment ?!?November 20, 2002 at 2:41 pm #722873
Excellent stuff….but they’ll never do it (though not for lack of good reason).
1. Given to the Bank of Ireland?? For Free???
2. Who created the “no parliament here” condition???
3. Do our politicians actually deserve this??? Perhaps they should all be sent to a converted warehouse off the M-50…
fjpNovember 20, 2002 at 4:45 pm #722874
Now theres an idea, although I wouldn’t even bother converting it. They were’nt given the building. After the Act of Union in 1801 it was used for art exibitions etc until the BOI purchased it, I think in 1804 for Â£40,000. There is a myth that a condition of the sale was that both the House of Commons & Lords were to be removed from the building, but apparently this is ‘unfounded’. However a public cash office was needed and the House of Commons was impractical for that use, with it’s public gallery etc, and so it was replaced by Francis Johnston and the building’s dome removed. He also blocked up the windows behind the colonade with niches for security, in the days of gold etc.November 20, 2002 at 4:58 pm #722875
at least the warehouse would be easier to drive/get to. maybe they could put a Luas stop beside it as well.November 20, 2002 at 5:06 pm #722876
Yes, in 2027November 20, 2002 at 8:48 pm #722877
Samuel Fitzpatrick in “Dublin: A Historical and Topographical Account of the City” confirms what GH said regarding the sale: “…the passing of the Act of Union in 1800 left them [the Parliament buildings] untenanted, and two years later they were sold to the Bank of Ireland for Â£40,000, less than half their original cost, subject to a ground rent of Â£240 per annum.”
Paul’s section on the buildings here also adhere’s to the ‘rumour’ that they were not to be used as a parliment… and I’m sure I’ve read this elsewhere…November 20, 2002 at 8:55 pm #722878
According to “the house book” (the one with bricks for a cover) the white house in washington was actually based on Leinster house….November 20, 2002 at 9:04 pm #722879
Interesting idea none the less… especially if traffic was taken off College Green…
From “The Story of Dublin” by Chart (1907):
“For more than a century the Bank of Ireland has now held undisturbed possession of the classical building that was once the home of a native parliament. Many Irishmen, however, have fond memories of the past and fond hopes for the future of the “old house in College Green,” and, even to this day, as political processions file past the Ionic colonnades, hats are lifted in token of respect and remembrance.”
Unfortunately considering all the recent construction around the government buildings I can’t see it happening…November 21, 2002 at 10:02 am #722880
Exactly. the OPW have just spent millions on new offices, restaurant & bar and other facilities, undoubtedly with no consideration to the idea of moving from the site.
The White House is derived from Leinster House, or rather the top two floors are. The first and second floor windows & their pediments on the garden front of the White House are exactly the same as Leinster House, it’s architect being James Hoban, obviously being influenced by Cassel’s house in Dublin. Apparently the Capitol Building was influenced by the Custom House, it’s foundation stone laid in 1793, just two years after the completion of the Custom House.November 21, 2002 at 10:18 am #722881
I knew about the link between Leinster House and the White House, but is the latter really true.November 21, 2002 at 2:42 pm #722882
Its would cost a fortune to remove to the Old Parliament House and it is totally unrealistic when the current site is adequate.
As for Leinster House as a des res for Bertie. Are you mad! Haven’t they all got enough at present – Government Buildings, Farmleigh, the Aras. What wrong with him having to be on the slippery property pole like everyone else. Why does he need an official residence?
Also on the subject of Leinster House – when are they going to get rid of that tarmac sprawl on the Lawn. Why all these parking spaces. havent they heard of the Park ‘n Ride, QBCs, Luas line, Metro lines, and fantastic high speed Intercity rail links that have been developed since 1998 under the NDP!November 22, 2002 at 12:43 pm #722883
You mean to say that it is appropriate for the
Prime Minister to be driving home to a 3 bed semi, or what ever it is, on the outskirts of the city?November 22, 2002 at 12:54 pm #722884
Yes it is…. this is a Republic – not a monarchy or a semi monarchy (like France, USA). Head of State should get a residence but the Head of Givernment is just an ordinary Joe Soap like the rest of us.November 22, 2002 at 2:31 pm #722885
I heard Ciaran Cuffe on Newstalk saying that to get things done in Ireland, it might be preferable to have a Mussolini like-leader. I’m almost sure a Francois Mitterand comparison would have been more appropriate.
But I too wish Mussolini had been in charge when Cllr Cuffe and his sidekicks were chained to the tree on O’Connell Street.November 22, 2002 at 4:59 pm #722886
Nah Mussolini gets my vote, less dodgy than Mitterand…November 22, 2002 at 5:41 pm #722887
When the Office of President was created under The Constitution of Ireland there were apparently quite a number of people who wanted the President to reside in somewhere other than what had been the Viceregal Lodge up to 1922 and which subsequently became until 1937 the Governor-General’s Residence. As usual no agreement could reached as to an alternative suitable residence and so Douglas-Hyde moved into the house which was then renamed Ãras an UachtarÃ¡in.
Before 1922 the Chief Secretary and the Under Secretary also resided in the Phoenix Park in what became the American Ambassador’s residence and the Papal Nuncio’s residence respectively. These houses could have been considered for use as residences for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister but I suppose at the time there was neither the will nor the money to ensure this happened.November 22, 2002 at 7:43 pm #722888
Malahide Castle was considered as an official residence for the Taoiseach in the 1970s. The project ended with the death of the last Lord Talbot in 1974.
If there were to be an official residence – why not one of those houses in Henrietta Street, and for a parliament, Broadstone Station, one of the most magnificent and maligned buildings in Ireland?
PS – The profile of Broadstone on this sitewas very intersting.;)November 22, 2002 at 8:53 pm #722889
Leinster House is not adequate as the base for the Parliament, practically, yes, but asthetically and cerimonially, no. It is an embarassment when watching the BBC news in the evening, at election times etc, to see a correspondent, standing outside a small and undistinguished building that bears no correlation to the purpose of housing a national parliament. It does not stand out like a beacon like the Palaces of Westminster or the Reichstag, or other parliament buildings, although I accept that Ireland is a small country. Leinster House is’nt anything much architecturally, simply a granite wall with some geometrically placed classical windows, it has little relief or depth and is fundamentally unmemorable, just nice to look at in passing. The OPW hav’nt even bothered to floodlight the building, it shoud be lit in brilliant white light, considering it’s prominance every night televisually.
Charlie Haughey attempted to get the State to use Kinsealy as the official residence of the Taoiseach but later abandoned the idea. Henrietta Street would be suitable, like Downing Street, ajoining houses could be used for necessary offices, although Downing Street is closed off to the public, for securityNovember 24, 2002 at 5:04 pm #722890
the opw did finally get around to floodlighting the facade earlier this year, should have been done ages ago, looks much beter now … whatever about leinster house itself, government buildings on merrion street is very impressive don’t ya think?
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