Prospect of eviction from Richmond Road studios must be wake up call for Government and Dublin City Council

06 April 2022

Labour Party Arts spokesperson Senator Marie Sherlock, Deputy Lord Mayor Joe Costello and Dublin City Councillors Jane Horgan Jones and Declan Meenagh have called on the Government and Dublin City Council to step up supports for artistic workspaces amid eviction threats against a successful, not-for-profit arts studio in North Dublin City.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Sherlock made a direct appeal to the receivers Kroll to engage with the 21 artists who operate out of the Richmond Road studios.

Senator Sherlock said:

“There’s a grim irony that, as the Government makes a very welcome announcement of a basic income for artists, 21 artists are right now facing eviction from Richmond Road Studios in Fairview.

“The closure of yet another cultural space in our city is a sober reminder that commitment to artists must be first and foremost about securing their incomes and places of work.

“Our capital city has a biting and well-documented problem with providing secure, affordable workspaces for artists and cultural workers. This hollowing out of artistic spaces has been well-documented by Dublin City Council and yet we are still losing long-standing venues like Richmond Road, which has provided essential workspace for over 100 artists since 2002.

“Despite appeals to the receiver, there has been a failure to engage with the tenants of Richmond Road Studios and the deadline of this Thursday is now looming large.

“In the draft City Development Plan, Dublin City Council talks about how vital it is to secure space for artists to work and live, in order to maintain a vibrant artistic community within the city.

“We need to convert these ambitions into action now. The Council and Government can and must step in to ensure suitable, affordable and long-term spaces are provided to artists so that, supported by a new basic income programme, they can continue to enrich and expand our shared cultural horizons.”

Senator Sherlock continued:

“The struggles faced by artists in securing suitable workspaces will come as no surprise to Dublin City Council or to the Government.

“According to the Dublin City Cultural Infrastructure Audit of December 2021, there are over 2,500 artists and 25,000 creative workers in Dublin, but no more than 392 individual and 137 shared artistic workspaces. The Audit found that “there is a scarcity of affordable, safe and accessible artist/ maker workspaces in Dublin”, made worse by precarious income patterns for artistic workers.

“Furthermore, the Artist Workplace Findings Report, commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2020, surveyed nearly one in five of the city’s artist population and found that 41% were actively seeking a secure workspace.

“Crucially, the Council’s Cultural Infrastructure Audit clearly identified the enormous challenges faced by even long-standing creative studios in maintaining their tenancy of buildings against current market forces. This is the very situation we are seeing right now at Richmond Road Studios and countless other creative spaces across our city.

“Without much greater Government and Council support, Dublin City will continue to become a place where creative people find it impossible to pursue their dreams. For a city so defined by its culture, this would be nothing less than a disaster for Dublin.”

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