Liberties Business Forum invites new companies to become part of revival

By Business & Finance
05 June 2015
thomas street liberties

The Liberties, a historic area of the city which lies between St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Brewery in Dublin 8, is currently undergoing a renaissance, with almost €1bn in public and private sector investment being made.

Headline projects include the National Paediatric Hospital development at St James’s Hospital, Brewhouse 4 at the Diageo Victoria Quay facility, Knightsbridge Student House at the Digital Hub Campus and the Teeling Whiskey Distillery and Visitor Centre.

Liberties Business Forum, which was established in 2014 and is supported by Dublin City Council, comprises a cross representation of business managers and traders from the James’s Street, Thomas Street, Meath Street and Francis Street areas. As well as attracting new commercial ventures to the area, a key aim of the Forum is to encourage collaboration between local businesses.

Speaking at the Expo this morning, chairperson of the Liberties Business Forum, Catherine Heaney said: “The Liberties is an area that is full of personality and it is currently drawing new ideas, new energy and new people. However, there are still lots of empty spaces, providing opportunities to invest in sectors such as office and commercial property, the craft food and drink sector, design and creative industries, tourism, tech and media enterprises, medical and life sciences.

“Through the Liberties Business Forum, we are collaborating and supporting each other. For example St James’s Hospital is talking to The Digital Hub and NCAD about the value they can bring to each other, and already there is genuine collaboration and project work through initiatives such as Connected Health and Future Creators.

She added: “This collaboration is part of the personality of the area and it’s one of the reasons why someone would locate here. We are holding this event today to invite other businesses to join in our journey and to become part of the revival of what is a vibrant and up-and-coming city centre neighbourhood.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD commented: “At the heart of our jobs plan is building on the particular strengths of individual parts of the country to create jobs. Today’s event is a great example of a community using the support available from Government and collaborating to support investment and job-creation in its area. I am delighted to welcome this great initiative.”

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Ann O’Dea, CEO, Silicon Republic“The Liberties has always had a special place in my heart, and I lived in the Liberties for many years on my return to Dublin. You can just feel the social history as you walk around. It’s one of the most authentic places in Dublin.

“The Digital Hub has grown and attracted in some great young companies from Ireland and abroad. The plans for more offices and for student accommodation should only add more vibrancy to the area.”

Paul Carty, managing director, The Guinness Storehouse Experience: “There’s great vibrancy and colour in The Liberties – great pubs, places to eat, art and antique galleries, fantastic historical buildings, NCAD, the Digital Hub, Vicar Street, the Guinness Brewery and of course the Guinness Storehouse.

“Over the generations, The Liberties has continued to reinvent itself. It could be said that the Liberties has been overlooked in the past with energy and investment moving towards the east of the city. It’s vitally important for the long-term sustainability of the area that it continues to attract further investment in to the area.”

Brian McCarthy, Mannings Bakery & Café: “The business has been here since the 1960s and was set up by my grandfather. There have been a number of Manning’s Bakery’s in Dublin since the 1950s but Thomas Street has always been considered to be one of the most interesting branches.

“Attracting further investment is important to amplify and extend the unique and positive attributes of the area. However, further investment should be conscious of the existing ecosystem that makes the area great.”

Photo: William Murphy