LovinDublin V Loving Dublin, by Eoin O’Faogáin





In the editorial fantasy-land of LovinDublin, this city of ours is mostly – and should only be – 4,588/km2 of tech hubs, artisan sandwiches and boutique bars. The rest is just an inconvenience; an unfortunate eyesore for the ‘city experience’. On the rare occasions that the site, and specifically its founder Niall Harbison, decide to write about something or someone outside the Greater Grafton Street area (a.k.a where the Povs live) it has cringeworthy consequences. And that’s being kind.

Take, for example, their review in 2014 of Da Mimmo; a beautiful Italian restaurant, but one that’s unfortunately (if you’re a LovinDublin writer) situated in the North Strand. Harbison wrote at the time: “This is the Dublin you see in The Commitments with children on street corners sniffing glue and Nidge threatening to pour acid over hookers’ faces. I’d advise renting one of those PSNI trucks they use in the riots and being escorted by a water cannon and police on horseback to ensure safe passage through the Amiens Street area on the way here. I forgot about the fact that my car was clearly having the wheels taken off it outside.”

Worse, MUCH worse in fact, was Mr. Harbison’s decision to delve into politics with an opinion piece on the city’s addiction problems. Some choice cuts from that particular horror-show included: “We should move proper treatment centres out to the quieter parts of the city” and “Large parts of our city smell of piss, are littered with the remnants of addicts and make people watch their backs on a regular basis. The main reasons for this include…lots of social housing is extremely close to tourist areas”.

More recently, the site – via its social media channels – has played host to some delightfully derisive commenting on the ongoing LUAS workers’ dispute. In the world of LovinDublin, the erosion of workers’ rights is necessary because it adds to the ‘streamlined user experience’ or whatever bollocks is buzzterm of the month at the time. Who needs a taxi driver with rights and trade protections, when you can have an Uber? Who needs adequate social housing in the city centre when you can just ship them all off to a plot of land near the airport? (That’s never been done before, has it? It’s guaranteed to work though).

After all, the almighty Silicon Docks comes first. Now, back to reality. I wrote here last month about the residents of Constitution Hill in the north-west inner city and their inspiring fight against Dublin City Council with regard to the lack of amenities for children in the flat complexes. the unacceptable condition the area has been left in and genuine safety concerns brought about by the Luas CrossCity project’s plans to have its track towards Grangegorman running through the back entrance of the site. The residents stood firm in opposing any construction to commence until their concerns were properly addressed. After a flurry of media interest at the time, DCC were forced into offering a deal to the residents.
There has unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, been no movement on the issue since then. Worse still, the construction work that has started since the protest was called off a month ago has added more safety concerns than there were before. DCC’s Area Manager Sean Smith had agreed to update residents on all of the above at a meeting last Wednesday but failed to turn up. As a consequence…the protest is back on & it stays for as long as required. Please support by keeping up to date via the ‘Constitution Rising’ Facebook page and, if possible, by standing in solidarity with residents – there’ll be a presence at the entrance to the complex every morning at 06:30am until change is delivered.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see Constitution Hill written about in LovinDublin. You’ll most certainly never see a campaign like the above written about in it. When it comes to life through the lens of the gentrified lifestyle guide, however representative of its city the title appears, attention is reserved for what looks good, what sounds good and what involves the least uncomfortable thought possible.

If that’s in some way appealing to you, I’m sorry that getting this far down has resulted in your E6.50 coffee going cold. If it doesn’t, and you care about your city as a whole, come out and join the Conso residents in fighting for what’s rightfully theirs. Hey! It could inspire you to start a fight in your community for what’s rightfully yours, too. It might EVEN mean a new website has to be set up: LovinAllOfDublin. The sheer thought of it must be sending Mr. Harbison into a cold sweat.

Eoin O’Faogáin