The great-grandson of Irish patriot James Connolly has criticised plans to demolish a Moore Street bakery at the historic site of the 1916 Rising and erect a shopping mall.
The Paris Bakery is to be knocked down, with the loss of 70 jobs, to make way for the 900 million euro Dublin Central shopping development.
The site neighbours houses at 14-17 Moore Street, which were recently ordered to be preserved. It was to those four houses that rebel leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising fled after evacuating the GPO (General Post Office in O’Connell Street) under heavy shelling, breaking holes in the walls between them to move from one to the other.
In 2010, a company called Chartered Land was granted planning permission for a large shopping development stretching from O’Connell Street to Moore Street. However, no construction got under way and the properties now fall within the loans portfolio of National Asset Management Agency.
Plans to develop the national monument site on Moore Street have, however, been given the go ahead in a NAMA-funded project. NAMA, the government-operated National Assets Management Agency, took over bad debts and distressed assets including the Moore Street site from a number of nationalised financial institutions during the economic crisis.
But their plans to raze the buildings at number 18 and 19 are being heavily criticised by James Connolly Heron, a direct descendant of James Connolly.
He met with Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan to discuss Moore Street earlier this month. He raised concerns over demolition plans for any of the houses along the Moore Street Terrace which is thought to house many other undiscovered pre-1916 elements.
“Isn’t it ironic that a government committed to creating employment are about to fund, through NAMA, the closure of a bakery that employs up to 70 people,” Mr Connolly Heron said.
He added: “That its proposed demolition will be financed by NAMA through public funding to make way for a Celtic Tiger shopping mall beggars belief. Is this what is meant by planning in the public interest?”
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has claimed the demolition of numbers 18 and 19 in Moore Street is required to maintain the neighbouring listed buildings. But in reality the building is to be removed to make way for a road as part of the sprawling new shopping mall.
In a bid to prevent the demolition, a petition was launched last week, and so far, over 3,000 people have signed it. The petition is online at http://www.parisbakery.ie/savemoorestreet