Thursday 26 April 2018

Families of 1916 leaders in plea to save historic site

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

IT was the day after her wedding and the last glimpse she had of her brother, Easter Rising leader Joseph Plunkett, when he blew up a tram outside the GPO to form a barricade against British forces.

Her brother, a signatory to the 1916 Proclamation, would be shot within days for his part in the Rising.

However, Geraldine would ensure his memory was kept alive by telling her children and grandchildren about those fateful days.

"She lived with us all my life and told us all about it," explained Geraldine's grand-daughter Honor O Brolchain yesterday.

Honor and Jim Connolly Heron, a great-grandson of James Connolly, brought members of the Oireachtas Environment Committee on a walkabout tour of the scene of the Rising to discuss their concerns about the proposed redevelopment of the site.

The group traced the escape route used by the rebels to flee the burning GPO towards Moore Street, where they staged their last stand before ultimately surrendering.

Under ambitious plans for the €1.2bn redevelopment of the Carlton Cinema site, the warren of backstreets and many of the houses on Moore Street are to be demolished and replaced by shops and apartments.

There are plans to convert No 16 into a museum surrounded by cafes and shops. However, descendants of the leaders and historians want to see the entire terrace saved.

"It's significant for us that the area be preserved -- but more importantly for future generations to see where our nation was born," said Jim.

They want the Government to turn the site into an historic quarter and the terrace into a museum.

"The terrace is too important to be left in the hands of a private developer. The State should become more proactive and look upon it as developing an historic, cultural quarter," he added.

Nos 14-17 Moore Street are designated a national monument and any work on the site must have the consent of the Minister for the Environment.

The group is now seeking a meeting with the minister, John Gormley, in an attempt to save the historic site.

Irish Independent

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