Plans to sell the historic Plough Pub opposite the Abbey Theatre in Dublin for €550,000 have been blocked by Dublin city councillors.
The council wanted to sell the pub, which it has owned since 2017, so it could be redeveloped as apartments. The council proposed to then lease the apartments from the private developer for use as social housing.
However, councillors said the proposal to sell the council-owned pub represented a “giveaway” of public land, and said the council should develop the social housing itself.
The pub, at the corner of Abbey Street and Marlborough Street, had been a popular meeting spot for theatre goers, but closed more than a decade ago. The four-storey Victorian building, which is on the record of protected structures, became increasingly dilapidated and by 2014 had been boarded up.
In 2017 the council bought the pub to stop it from falling into further decay. “The property was in a derelict condition, boarded up and infested with rodents and pigeons,” it said. An inspection noted parts of the roof were missing with a “large number of plastic bags containing bird droppings stored throughout the building”.
The council had initially hoped to reach a deal with the Abbey Theatre, which had “expressed an interest in utilising the buildings when refurbished”. However no agreement was reached.
In 2018 the council spent approximately €70,000 on structural repairs, but despite these emergency works the structural condition “continuously deteriorated” and represented a “serious financial risk and burden to the council”.
It put the pub on the market at €650,000 in 2019 but accepted a bid of €550,000 and agreed to lease back the six apartments which were expected to developed.