Charity shops will now be allowed to open on Dublin's main shopping thouroughfare Grafton St, following a decision taken by Dublin city council. Councillors had been asked to consider the introduction of planning restrictions which would ban certain retail outlets from opening on the high street on the grounds they “would detract from the character of the street”. The list included sex shops, off-licences, fast-food restaurants, discount stores, bookmakers and amusement arcades.
The Irish Charity Shops Association successfully lobbied councillers not to include charity shops on Grafton St in the restrictions.
Prior to the vote there was much difference of opinion between councillors, with some saying the ban displayed an outdated attitude to charity shops which should not be “subjected to negative discrimination.” Others argued that there was a need to retain a "top end" high street to attract "high wealth visitors". In the end the plan was passed by 29 to 16 votes.
Grafton St is home to exclusive Dublin landmark shops such as fashion and lifestyle store Brown Thomas and Weir's jewellers. However there are already a number of fast food outlets such as Burger King and McDonalds. The council's proposal will not affect their presence on the street but will prohibit future openings of similar establishments.
Earlier this year the street witnessed the closure of the landmark shop, the giant HMV music store near St Stephen's Green. The four-storey building was recently put on the market for an annual rental fee of €1 million.