Tuesday 6 December 2016

Campaigners secure major victory in battle to save historic 1916 site

Tim Healy and Alan O'Keeffe

Published 19/03/2016 | 02:30

Proinsias O’Rathaille, grandson of ‘The O’Rahilly’, Helen Litton, a great niece of Tom Clarke, James Connolly Heron, a great grandson of James Connolly, and Patrick Cooney, a founder member of the Save 16 Moore Street committee, leave court yesterday after the hearing. Photo: Courtpix
Proinsias O’Rathaille, grandson of ‘The O’Rahilly’, Helen Litton, a great niece of Tom Clarke, James Connolly Heron, a great grandson of James Connolly, and Patrick Cooney, a founder member of the Save 16 Moore Street committee, leave court yesterday after the hearing. Photo: Courtpix

Campaigners battling to save the historic 1916 Moore Street site secured a major victory yesterday in the High Court.

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A judge found various buildings and locations on and around Dublin's Moore Street are a 1916 Rising "battlefield site" comprising a national monument described as the "cradle of the nation".

The Easter Rising is "unique" and the GPO occupies an iconic position in Irish history making what happened to the men and women who fled the GPO when it was ablaze "a matter worthy of unique commemoration", Mr Justice Max Barrett said.

The Moore Street battlefield site, as the site to where the rebels fled, and negotiated and where "workers, civilian and combatant, lived and died in what to no little extent was a workers' rising, is "uniquely worthy of commemoration".

Some of the buildings are due for demolition as part of a major development by Chartered Land.

The judge made orders against the Minister for Heritage restraining demolition or unauthorised works to Nos 13 to 19 Moore Street but said, once the Minister decides how best to proceed in light of his judgment, she may apply to vary those orders.

The judgment means the minister must reconsider her view there is no wider "battlefield site" to be protected as a national monument.

The Minister argued only one terrace at Nos 14 to 17 Moore St, including No 16 where some of the leaders met for the last time before their execution, was a national monument. No 16 is intended to house a 1916 Commemorative Centre.

Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys said she and her officials will carefully study the 400-page judgement regarding Moore Street.

"My priority up to this point has been to progress the important works to preserve the site," she said.

James Connolly Heron, great-grandson of executed leader James Connolly, said: "This is a culmination of a decade-long campaign where citizens of Dublin came together to protect and preserve the very birthplace of the Republic.

"They stood together in principle for over a decade against great odds, almost the same odds as the volunteers in 1916 went out to meet," said the spokesman of the 1916 Relatives Association.

Historians declared Moore Street and its network of lanes as the most important historical site in modern Irish history, he added.

Irish Independent

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