Dublin City Council has approved plans to convert O’Connell Street’s GPO into a fast food outlet.
In a move designed to maximise late-night pedestrian foot-fall in the city centre, the fast food company Supermacs has been awarded the franchise to open and operate a burger-joint in what was once the city’s General Post Office.
A Historical Landmark
The landmark building, which was the hub of Republican activities during the 1916 Easter Rising, has seen a substantial drop in customer usage over the past ten years — mainly attributable to the growth in email and online banking usage.
A spokesperson for An Post, Ireland’s postal service, Thomas Karolin said, “while it is a pity to cease postal services from our O’Connell Street building we simply must move with the times and endeavour to maximise profits in what is a very competitive market.
Over the years we have seen customer usage of the GPO dwindle and An Post feels that the ‘the time is now’ for an alternative usage for the building.
We have held detailed discussions with the Supermacs executive team and they have assured us that the unique architectural and historical heritage of the building will be ‘more or less’ maintained.”
City is ‘crying out‘
Patrick “Pat” McDonagh the founder and owner of Supermacs told reporters.
“We, like An Post are delighted to be involved in this joint venture. It will help bring life back into the city centre and our detailed market research tells us that Dublin City Center is ‘crying out’ for another late-night fast-food outlet. And we are the company to provide just that.”
McDonagh was asked as to how his company would deal with the unique features and significance of the building considered to be one of the world’s finest Georgian public buildings.
“What the public must realise,” McDonagh said, “is that the building itself dates back to 1884 and is really long overdue for a renovation.
The old hardwood counters and marble floors are just not suitable for the modern day burger retail store. They’ll be the first to go.
As for the exterior,” he continued. “Our Architects have come up with a plan to cover those ugly columns with a more suitable brightly coloured PVC cladding — much more eye-catching.
Of course, in order to provide drive-through facilities and adequate car parking, we intend to demolish half of Moore Street.”
McDonagh also commented on the former GPO’s history.
“People may not be aware but one of my forefathers, Thomas MacDonagh, was one of the signatories of the 1916 proclamation, and of course we are very cognizant of that.
We intend to print our menus on copies of the proclamation along with introducing a new range of products.
We are presently considering launching the Padriac Pearse Whopper, The Seán Mac Diarmada milkshake and of course a very tasty James Connolly range of chicken nuggets.”
A spokesperson for An Taisce the National Trust for Ireland was seriously unavailable for comment.