Dublin city councillors have condemned a British property company’s efforts to have buildings around a national monument site opened for development.
Hammersons, who also own Dundrum Town Centre, have taken over a large swathe of Moore Street which contains a national monument at numbers 14 to 17, known as ‘Ireland’s Alamo’. It was the last bastion of the 1916 Rising against English rule before it was defeated.
Councillors have voted to have five more buildings declared as protected structures, but Hammerson has refused to allow access.
The five buildings are numbers 10 and 20/21 Moore St, as well as three buildings in laneways to the rear known as the White Cottage, O’Brien Mineral Water Works and the Bottling Stores.
Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe described the company’s response as “deeply upsetting” and said it was “deeply ironic” that an English property company had sought to filibuster and obstruct attempts to find out more about the buildings that witnessed the seminal events of 1916.
Councillor Christy Burke, Independent, said if there was any attempt to demolish the buildings the people involved need “to be charged with criminal damage and placed in handcuffs.
“A thousand men, women and children will be on the streets within seconds to stop any money grabbing developer who couldn’t give a damn about our history and culture,” he said.
In a setback for heritage campaigners on Wednesday, the Court of Appeal in Dublin overturned an earlier ruling that the various buildings on and around Moore Street were a national monument.
The Dublin government had argued it was only necessary to protect 14-17 Moore Street, where it is intended to establish a 1916 Rising Commemorative Centre.
James Connolly Heron, a relative of executed 1916 leader James Connolly, said the court’s decision did not alter the relatives’ determination to have the sites preserved.
The 1916 Relatives Association said “positive and constructive dialogue” is the next step, and it expressed hope the 26 County State and all parties involved could find “a common solution that can meet the needs and concerns” of all involved.
Sinn Fein Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha criticised the current Minister for Arts for refusimg his request to visit the national monument. He said “the people of Dublin and the people of Ireland want to see the Moore Street battle site preserved”.