THE CAMPAIGN to protect the historic Moore Street area of Dublin will be the most important campaign since Wood Quay, said James Connolly Heron, great-grandson of James Connolly.
Mr Connolly Heron was one of a group of relatives of the 1916 leaders who met politicians from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government yesterday to inspect the site around the GPO and Moore Street which is due to be redeveloped.
Last month An Bord Pleanála approved planning permission for a major redevelopment of the Carlton Cinema site covering a 2.7 hectare site taking in most of a block of Upper OConnell Street and fronting on to Henry Street, Moore Street, O’Rahilly Parade and Parnell Street.
The area covers much of the route taken by the leaders of the 1916 Rising after they left the GPO, as well as their final headquarters in 16 Moore Street.
Developer Joe O’Reilly, who built the Dundrum Town Centre in south Dublin, has been granted permission for the 800,000sq ft development which will comprise 98 retail units, 69 residential units, 4,500sq m of restaurants and coffee houses and some 700 car parking spaces.
Mr O Reilly is one of the first ten developers going into Nama. He was also named as one of the Anglo Irish so-called “Golden Circle” – one of 10 Anglo Irish Bank customers who borrowed from the bank to buy a 10 per cent stake in the lender.
Speaking to Oireachtas committee members and local TDs yesterday, Mr Connolly Heron, a member of the Save 16 Moore Street Committee, said the State needed to take a proactive role in the preservation of the area, as the issue was “too important” to be left to a private developer.
Numbers 14-17 Moore Street is a designated National Monument. Under the plans, the facade of the buildings will be preserved and a commemorative centre built in number 16. However, campaigners are proposing that the interior of the buildings be preserved in their original state.
“This is the last surviving building where the leaders actually met,” Mr Connolly Heron said. He called on the Government to establish a museum which would resemble the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam which preserves the original structure and contents of the house.