There has been an angry reaction to the issuance of planning permission by Dublin City Council for the redevelopment of an area of the city that was a key rebel stronghold during the 1916 Rising against British rule.
London-based property group Hammerson had lodged three applications for a mixed retail, office and residential scheme on the city block formerly known as the Carlton site. Two have now been approved, with one involving the land surrounding the 1916 Rising National Monument buildings at 14-17 Moore Street, and another involving the nearby construction of a nine-storey hotel and the demolition of two related buildings. The third is pending.
The council received a large number of objections to the scheme, including from relatives of 1916 leaders, and it is likely the decisions will be appealed.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Culture Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said the council’s decision would allow the “destruction” of parts of the historic streetscape and the 1916 Battlefield site of Moore Street. He said it was “mind-boggling” and “tantamount to cultural vandalism”.
Mr Ó Snodaigh said campaigners had set out alternatives where culture and history were embraced and faithfully restored to allow a thriving street market, while protecting the historical heritage.
“This is a retrograde step, and shows that nothing has been learnt from the past destruction of historical, architectural or archaeological gems in Dublin,” he said.
“This decision reflects a short-sighted vision common among decision-makers, which cannot grasp the cultural and historical tourism potential of restoring Moore Street to its former appearance of a century ago, so it can tell its story as a witness to many of the key events of the 1916 Rising as well as being key to the heart of Dubliners for generations.”
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD also called on the government to act urgently to prevent the destruction of Moore Street which she described as “one of the most important sites in modern Irish history”.
“This wrecking of our history and heritage cannot be allowed to happen.
“The legacy of 1916 and Moore Street belongs to the people of Ireland, not to a commercial developer intent on tearing it down for profit.
“Frankly, it is incredible that the Hammerson plan has gotten even this far. The decision flies in the face of Dublin’s City Council policy to have the 1916 terrace added to the list of protected structures.
“It also flouts the democratic decision of the Dáil which unanimously passed a Sinn Féin Bill in March of last year, that would see Moore Street protected as a Cultural Quarter for this and future generations.”