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Scrap Moore Street plans in favour of proposal by 1916 Rising relatives – Mary Lou McDonald


A less than bustling Moore Street in Dublin's north inner city

A less than bustling Moore Street in Dublin's north inner city

A less than bustling Moore Street in Dublin's north inner city

A plan by a UK property firm to redevelop the historic Moore Street area of Dublin should be scrapped in favour of design by a preservation trust which includes relatives of those who fought in 1916 and signed the Proclamation, says Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Property Group Hammerson Ltd has applied to Dublin City Council to begin development of the 5.5 acre site behind Moore Street, Parnell Street and O’Connell Street.

Its plan includes mixed retail, residential and offices and an archway from Moore Street.

Moore Street has suffered increased dereliction over the decades, and local traders and business people successfully fought for numbers 14-17 to be preserved for their historical significance because they were used by Rebel leaders as they fled the burning GPO and are recognised as the last battleground of the Rising.

Last month the Moore Street Preservation Trust unveiled alternative plans for the site.

Although it does not own any portion of the site, it called on Dublin City Council and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to endorse its plans.

Yesterday, Ms McDonald visited the street to speak to the dwindling number of street stall-holders who fear that the massive scale of the development plan by Hammerson will turn their trading patch into a building site and drive customers away.

“It's a question of the State and the Government intervening on this. This is a unique historic site and this is a place that needs to be developed, but that also needs to be preserved,” said Ms McDonald.

“This is the last great battlefield site. This is where history was made. These are the streets and laneways where the Republic was fought for, and so we are very much with the business owners and with people all across this area.

“We want Moore Street to be preserved and developed. We want to ensure that we can increase footfall so that you can have viable businesses, family businesses in many instances that have been here for generations. But we want to do more than that. We want to make this a living, vibrant cultural quarter that does justice to the memory of the 1916 patriots, but that also gives us a place for the future for Dublin,” she added.

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“The problem is that we haven't had governments that actually appreciate what we have. But I think the people of Dublin and the people of Ireland appreciate what we have.

“The families (of the Rising leaders) put together a plan, and it's not just any plan. They have brought together the best and the brightest in terms of conservationists, architects, the whole lot. The plan is stunning and it's the right plan for this part of the city,” said Ms McDonald.

Asked what she thinks about the Taoiseach’s endorsement of the Hammerson plan, she said she thinks it is “crazy”.

“I've told him that. I think it's unprecedented that any Taoiseach would endorse the plan of a private developer in this way, particularly when it's the job of the Taoiseach to vindicate the rights of citizens, and not to be in cahoots with developers. We know the history of Fianna Fáil on that,” she said.

“I'd like him to do the right thing and to actually think about the bigger picture and to actually have basic respect for people who fought and died for this Republic,” she added.

Street trader Caroline Alwring said there were promises in 2016 to have a museum to the Rising constructed.

“Who is the Minister for Heritage? All they gave us was a fresh tin of paint. This wouldn’t happen anywhere in Europe, a street steeped in history to be left like this. They should be ashamed of themselves,” she added.

Dublin City Council has sought some changes to the plans submitted by Hammerson Ltd as it considers their initial applications.

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