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Relatives of Rising heroes campaign to save 'battlefield' site

RELATIVES of leaders of the 1916 Rising gathered in Dublin's GPO yesterday as part of their campaign to save the Moore Street site where some of the rebels had their last stand.

The Save Moore Street group -- which includes members of the Connolly, Ceannt, Plunkett, Clarke and McDonagh families and is led by chairman Michael Barry -- was formed to campaign for the houses and surrounding network of laneways to be preserved as a "battlefield site".

At present, only 14-17 Moore Street, where the 1916 leaders made their last stand, are designated as a national monument. These are empty buildings and are the subject of a preservation order.

Helen Litton, a great-niece of Tom Clarke and Edward Daly -- both executed in the Rising -- was among a group who paid an official visit to the GPO for the first time yesterday.

"We are trying to involve people in the area to try to save this area from destruction. We want to protect Moore Street and the lanes around it as part of the battlefield site," she said.

She was joined by James Connolly-Heron, a great-grandson of James Connolly, and Muriel McAuley, a granddaughter of Thomas McDonagh.

The group is concerned at plans by developer Joe O'Reilly for an 800,000sq ft shopping centre development for the area around the GPO and Moore Street.

Mr O'Reilly is a NAMA client, so it is unlikely a proposed large-scale centre will be developed at the site in the short-term.

However, spokesman for the group Patrick Cooney said they did not want to see NAMA facilitating a developer "in the destruction of a national monument".

Ms McAuley added: "The area we are trying to preserve is directly associated with the evacuation of the GPO garrison at the end of 1916. It's the only garrison extant in its original form."

"We want the evacuation route kept intact, we want the terraced houses of numbers 10 to 25 kept intact," she added.

The group will launch a plan for the preservation of the historic Moore Street buildings next month.

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