Wednesday 28 September 2016

Minister queries motives of 'extremist' protest

Robin Schiller

Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30

A protester occupying the 1916 National Monument on Dublin's Moore Street. Photo: Damien Eagers
A protester occupying the 1916 National Monument on Dublin's Moore Street. Photo: Damien Eagers

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys has raised concerns over "extremist groups with highly questionable motivations" protesting against planned works on Dublin's Moore Street.

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Activists have stalled construction work at the historical 1916 site since Thursday, with hundreds turning out across the last four days.

Protesters fear that planned restoration works to Nos 14-17 of the Moore Street terrace will result in the 1916 site being damaged, while there are also concerns that No 18, which is not a protected structure will be demolished.

'Love/Hate' actor John Connors lent his support to the protest last night.

Connors criticised the Government for not protecting the whole terrace. He said that plans for redeveloping parts of the street would "destroy a national monument".

"It's unbelievable, choosing money over history. People, both well-known and not well-known, should come out in numbers because we need to try and stop this (works) and we're running out of time," Mr Connors told the Irish Independent last night.

However, Arts Minister Heather Humphreys said she is concerned at the involvement of what she described as "extremist groups" protesting at the historical 1916 site.

"I am becoming increasingly concerned about the potential damage being done to the National Monument on Moore Street. The buildings at Nos 14-17 are in a very fragile state; they are not suitable to house large groups of people," she said.

"I am also very concerned that a number of the individuals involved in the illegal occupation on Moore Street are members of extremist groups, with highly-questionable motivations. These people do not represent the views of the vast majority of Irish people," Ms Humphreys added.

A spokesperson for the protesters Damien Farrell, who is a member of the Eirigi party, described how the situation is being reviewed on a 24-hour basis among activists.

"We're playing it by ear, but we're not happy with the works being planned for the site. The Department of Heritage are saying that No. 18 is not of historical significance, which is outrageous, and we're completely against works that may result in the terrace being demolished" Mr Farrell said.

Irish Independent

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