1916 group takes Moore Street battle to court

by Aisling Kennedy
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A DISPUTE over the historical importance of buildings on Moore Street in Dublin city centre has erupted recently due to the important role they played in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Numbers 14-17 Moore Street was the last HQ of the rebel forces and where the decision was made to surrender to the British.
The dispute arose when protesters occupied an area on Moore Street due for demolition to make way for ongoing development works. A High Court action taken by the 1916 Relatives Association takes place in a fortnight and for now, the protests have ended.
The dispute involves plans developed by Chartered Land under which a section of the iconic street which includes numbers 13, 18, 19 and 20 was due to be razed to make way for the construction of a shopping centre on a 2.7 hectare site stretching from O’Connell Street’s former Carlton cinema to Moore Street.
John Conway, secretary of Save No 16 Moore Street Committee, told the Gazette he favoured keeping the four buildings designated as a national monument along with the 1916 commemorative museum initiative.
He said he was frustrated at the protests taking place on the street, adding: “I think they’re making a mistake because what they are actually achieving is holding up what we achieved over 15 years. We would like to have had the museum opened for Easter 2016 but these protesters have messed that up now.”
Conway also explained that the reason the State bought the four buildings subsequently deemed protected structures is due to an “expertly compiled report” commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2006.
In response, James Connolly Heron, great grandson of republican leader James Connolly, told the Gazette it was “nonsense” to say the renovation works and the 1916 commemorative museum would be ready in time for the upcoming 1916 centenary.”
Also the founder of the 1916 Relatives Centenary initiative and record secretary of the Save No 16 Moore Street Committee, Heron Connolly added: “The original plan was a five-year plan so they were hardly going to do it in two months. That’s absolute rubbish.”
He continued: “We want the area surveyed by independent experts, not surveys commissioned by the developer, Chartered Lands.
“We’re not prepared to see the Chartered Land plan implemented because it will mean we will be left with four buildings in splendid isolation in the middle of a shopping centre.”
Numbers 14, 15, 16 and 17 Moore Street are set to remain part of what the State deems a national monument due to their significant role in the 1916 Easter Rising.
As part of an agreement secured by the National Graves Association (which later became the Save No 16 Moore Street Committee) over a 15-year campaign, the Government bought numbers 14, 15, 16 and 17 for €4m and is now due to invest €6m worth of renovation works into restoring the buildings to 1916 specifications.
As part of the plans for these four buildings, one will be renovated and turned into a 1916 commemorative museum.
But protesters want the whole street retained and deemed a protected area as opposed to keeping some structures before demolishing the rest.
When the protesters realised demolition was beginning before the full extent of Chartered Land’s plans had been revealed, they began a steadfast protest.

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