The one building that is instantly and universally known to every citizen in the State -- Dublin's GPO -- should be reborn as the new home for the Abbey Theatre as the centrepiece of the 1916 Centenary celebrations in 2016, Senator David Norris has proposed.
Senator Norris believed the iconic site of Pearse's Easter Rising and the first reading of the Proclamation of the Republic being used as a new home for the Abbey Theatre would have widespread and universal public support. And he claimed the idea has the backing of the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen.
He said that when he mentioned it recently in casual conversation with the Taoiseach, Mr Cowen replied: "Of course it's a good idea. Didn't I suggest it myself last year?"
Senator Norris, writing in the Property Valuer magazine, said the Abbey apparently cannot stay where it is.
"The building, reconstructed after the disastrous fire of 1951, is a nightmare for actor, audience and director.
"It is impractical for actors and for the technical side because of space constriction and unimaginative design," he said.
"This is even despite the best efforts of Fiach Mac Conghail in providing a fully raked auditorium by removing the appalling half balcony that hung timidly like a partly opened drawer."
He said the one thing everyone was agreed on was that the Abbey needed new facilities, more space and a properly designed theatre in an appropriate place.
Senator Norris said he had backing for the idea from Fine Gael and Fianna Fail leaders in the Senate -- and from figures such as: Ireland's leading playwright, Brian Friel; the former artistic director of the Abbey, Patrick Mason; the director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan; and property developer and owner of the Point Theatre, Harry Crosbie.
Opposition to the idea was led by junior minister Martin Mansergh, who supported a plan to rebuild the Abbey in the middle of George's Dock in the financial services centre.
Describing the idea as "elitist", Senator Norris described it as the "duck pond" proposal and said the location was out of the way for ordinary theatre goers and could not be easily found or accessed by the general public.
In contrast the GPO was easily accessible by every means of transport -- train, taxi, Luas, bus, proposed metro, car, bicycle, rickshaw and "shanks' mare".
He added: "Let's face it, despite the heroic efforts of Dublin Corporation, O'Connell Street is still pitiful as the main thoroughfare of a major European city. Paris has the Opera; London, Convent Garden; Milan, La Scala; and New York, The Met.
"Are we going to dump our national theatre in a duck pond merely because it is the easy and unimaginative thing to do?
"Have we not had a surfeit of mediocrity?
"What a transfiguring impact the arrival of the Abbey would have on O'Connell Street and on the whole sorely neglected north side of the city. Dublin would at last become what it claims to be -- a proud European capital."
Senator Norris said he believed that in "these grim times the whole nation needs a boost, a bit of visionary 'oomph' to raise our spirits."
He continued, "Redeveloping the Abbey Theatre in the GPO would demonstrate our national pride at a very reasonable cost, if any, and if we start now it will be ready by 2016."