There is outrage over plans to demolish three buildings in the medieval heart of Cork city, with the building owners facing possible legal action.
The North Main Street Traders Association said its members are among a group considering their legal options against the owners of the buildings facing the wrecking ball, including the possibility of recovering lost earnings following last week's collapse incident.
The affected buildings, 62, 63 and 64 North Main St, are listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and form an intrinsic part of the North Main Street Architectural Conservation Area.
They were declared derelict in 2015. Brothers Dave and Brian O’Connor are named on the city council’s derelict sites register as the owners. Brian is no longer involved in the management of the properties.
The O’Connors were linked to the ownership of the former Munster Furniture building on the street, which was gutted by fire in 2008, and Dave O’Connor is named as the owner of two derelict properties on Barrack St. In 2017, he paid just over €983,000 for the under-declaration of income tax and VAT.
The traders note that between them, the owners have had a significant number of properties on North Main Street, none of which have been reasonably maintained and have added to the negative perceptions of the street
The back of number 63 collapsed last Thursday taking several internal floors with it.
A cordon has been in place around 63 and 64 since, and through-traffic has been restricted. It was feared that two buildings would face demolition.
But the Irish Examiner has learned that a report, prepared by structural engineers acting for the building owners, describes the structural stability of the front of 63 as “precarious” and recommends its demolition. It had previously been reinforced with two steel beams.
The report says the best way to make the building safe is to remove the brickwork chimney and roof structure, and the front facade.
This work means the front of the adjoining buildings would have to come down too.
The city council is still considering the report and as of last night, had not granted a demolition licence.
But officials have prepared a traffic management plan to facilitate the works, which could take up to two weeks to complete.
Motorists will be allowed turn right from Kyle St on to North Main St, and two set-down areas have been arranged for commercial deliveries.
Traders said the street is open for pedestrians and it's business as usual.