Dublin’s International Quarter

In his inaugural address to the Dublin and the City Council, the Lord Mayor Councillor Gerry Breen gallantly broached the idea of a China Town at Parnell Street. The Parnell family had a wide international dimension. Charles Stewart Parnell’s father was Anglo-Irish and his mother was from New Jersey, United States. Parnell’s great grandmother was a Tudor and was distantly related to the British Royal Family. His great grandfather opposed the Act of Union in Grattan’s Parliament.His brother farmed in Alabama. Parnell was elected an MP for Meath and later Cork,Mayo and Meath. He was dubbed the uncrowned King of Ireland and his funeral to Glasnevin Cemetery in October 1891 was a monster event with an attendence of about 200,000. Parnell Street, Parnell Square and Parnell Monument are situated in this area of the city. Parnell Street and Square were formerly Great Britain Street and Rutland Square respectively.The Parnell Monument was unveiled in 1911. I propose that the City Council consider designating the immediate vacinity centred around that area as “Parnell International New-Irish Town” in recognition of the multiethnicity of the businesses and traders in that area which reflect the presence and vitality of the new Irish recorded as greater than 10% of the population in the last census.
The Motion was passed 14 votes to 12

Parnell Street to be city’s ‘international quarter’
Tuesday November 02 2010
DUBLIN’S Parnell Street looks set to become the capital’s first international quarter after a motion was passed by elected members at last night’s city council meeting.
Fine Gael Councillor Bill Tormey put forward the proposal to designate the street and the surrounding area as “Parnell International New-Irish Town”.
He wanted to give recognition to “the multi-ethnicity of the business and traders in that area which reflect the presence and vitality of the new Irish”.
Proposing his motion, Cllr Tormey said that he wanted to develop the idea outlined in the inaugural address of Lord Mayor, fellow Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Breen, of a China Town at Parnell Street.
He said: “Thirty years ago this was a theocratic cultural dump and we should recognise the contribution of those not born in Ireland.”
Cllr Tormey said that the area should not be specifically designated to any particular ethnic group but should be assigned the role of Dublin’s International district. As of the last census in 2006, 10pc of the population in Dublin were not born in Ireland.
Parnell Street has become home to numerous African and Asian traders and restaurants in recent years and is often cited as Dublin’s equivalent of the China Towns in cities such as London, New York, Sydney and San Francisco.
Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn opposed the motion. He said: “I agree with the sentiment but I think we should come up with a more original idea.
“Parnell Street is too small and these people will move from the area once rents become cheaper somewhere else.”
Councillor Aodhan O’Riordan added that the council in passing the motion should be wary of the “potential for ghettoisation”.
Following the passing of the motion, the city council’s Arts, Culture, Leisure and Youth Affairs Strategic Policy is now to fine-hone the idea of Parnell Street as Dublin’s first international quarter and decide on what the official name for the area might be.
– Maeve Galvin