Words: Ellen Kenny
One of the last remaining non-profit creative studios in Dublin is being evicted this Thursday with only six days’ notice. The property is owned by Kroll, an American multinational firm and sponsor of the national Irish rugby team.
In early Spring, Richmond Road Studios initially agreed upon August 31 as an exit date. According to the studio, Kroll conducted a health and safety report on May 16 and on June 8, artists were told to vacate the premises due to “fire safety hazards”.
Richmond Road then renegotiated an exit deadline of July 6. On Friday June 17, Kroll informed Richmond Road Studios they were being evicted on Thursday June 23.
Maeve Brennan, an artist at Richmond Road, told District, “We feel pretty much blindsided… There was no indication when we met with the solicitor of the receiver last Wednesday that we were going to get served with an eviction.”
“It has been a hugely stressful weekend, one of our artists was in the middle of installing an exhibition, others had to alter job and family commitments at the last minute in order to start removing things.”
Richmond Road Studios was established in 2002, when Dublin was a far more supporting and flourishing place for artists. While in 2002, Dublin was bursting with affordable non-profit studios for artists, Richmond Road was one of the last remaining non-profit studios in Dublin today.
Nineteen studios have been shut down over the past ten years according to Brennan. And another studio is being lost to faceless, profit-driven corporations who pass no heed to the deterioration of Dublin’s cultural scene.
“I think that the general population may be unaware of the depth of the crisis,” Brennan said, “Because it is a crisis, and one that has been allowed to develop in tandem with the housing and rental crisis.”
“Artists in Dublin are not thriving, they are surviving, many have left or will leave, because the basic infrastructure isn’t currently here for them and is not being developed at a fast enough pace to give people the confidence that it will be any time soon.”
Brennan and many other artists are worried about the future of Dublin’s creative scene: “I think we will lose a lot of our creative talent and I think it will dissuade our young people from choosing to even go to art college, as the future there is pretty grim.”
Richmond Road Studios operates in Fairview in a property owned by multinational corporation Kroll, a sponsor of the national Irish rugby team. According to artists at Richmond Road, they tried to engage “fairly and decently” with Kroll on their departure from Fairview, while Kroll has “constantly failed to engage with us or honour their word.”
Richmond Road Studios have started a petition to save their space, though with six days left, little hope remains. The studio is now looking for an alternative location, and aims to ensure that their experience does not happen to anyone else.
Current Irish legislation states that if a tenant’s behaviour is “seriously anti-social or threatens the fabric of the property”, the property owner only needs to give seven days’ noticed before eviction.
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