What is DCC's protocol for removing murals and artworks?

By Fiona Frawley

July 26, 2022 at 4:47pm

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A subject of discussion once more as design agency Dynamo were ordered to paint over their shop front mural on the North Quays.

Over the weekend, Dynamo confirmed they had been "forced" to paint over their colourful mural by Irish artist Vanessa Power, due to a court order from Dublin City Council. The order has sparked a wider conversation around DCC's protocols for removing street art.

When asked about the order for removal of the mural outside Dynamo's shop front, DCC told Lovin:

In this instance an enforcement notice under Section 154 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) was served requiring the removal of the unauthorised mural painted on the front of the building. This enforcement notice was complied with as the mural was removed. 

The Planning and Development Act is defined as "an act to revise and consolidate the law relating to planning and development by repealing and re-enacting with amendments", and can be enacted as follows:

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(a) plastering or painting or the removal of plaster or stucco, or

(b) the replacement of a door, window or roof,

"that materially alters the external appearance of a structure so as to render the appearance inconsistent with the character of the structure or neighbouring structures".

As part of the discussion on Twitter, Irish photographer Ruth Medjber wrote that: "If DCC get just 1 single complaint about an artwork, it's ordered to come down. Instantly", citing Joe Caslin's piece for Down Syndrome Ireland (which was erected with permission from the building owners) as an example. 

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When Lovin asked about DCC's protocol for removing murals, they responded:

Dublin City Council does not generally remove murals from private property. If it comes the attention of DCC that a mural has been painted on private property that can be viewed externally enforcement action is commenced under Section 151 to Section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). There are a range of powers that a Local Authority has in terms of the service of statutory warning letters, notices and legal proceedings. A phased approach is generally taken by the Planning Enforcement Section relating to such matters.

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