Government warned over lack of regulations around Moore Street 1916 monument

Independent TD says Moore Street’s architectural heritage is not being proteced

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. “We are not protecting our national monument by not having these other plans to support the general area around it.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. “We are not protecting our national monument by not having these other plans to support the general area around it.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 01:05

The Government is failing to protect Moore Street’s architectural heritage where the 1916 leaders signed their surrender because it will not regulate the area surrounding the national monument, the Dáil has been told.

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan warned that the State could be an international laughing stock with either a derelict site surrounding the historic building for 2016’s Rising’s centenary commemoration “or else a huge shopping centre which would dwarf the national monument”.

The Dublin Central TD said the Dutch authorities “would not allow something similar at the Anne Frank House. The Polish and German authorities would not allow fast food takeaways beside Auschwitz or Dachau.”

Ms O’Sullivan warned: “We are not protecting our national monument by not having these other plans to support the general area around it.”

She said there was insufficient legislation in place to protect it and called for a new Bill that new buildings would have to take surrounding buildings into account if they were of historical or architectural significance.

Minister of State for Environment Jan O’Sullivan insisted planning authorities were empowered to protect architectural heritage in the interest of proper planning and sustainable development. She was not contemplating further legislation in this area and pointed to provision that had been made for the designation of architectural conservation areas.

In dealing with planning applications, planning authorities “must take into account the material effect, if any, that the proposed development would be likely to have on the character of the architectural conservation area”.

The Independent TD was “taken aback” by the Minister’s reply that there was sufficient legislation to prevent deterioration and protect these structures. Unless the Government intervened,“come 2016, we will probably have a national monument from number 14 to 17 Moore Street but it will be surrounded by the current derelict area”. If the developer found the money or Nama provided it, there would be a shopping centre dwarfing the monument.

The Minister said the Minister for Heritage had the power to comment on development plans and specific proposals.

The Dublin Central TD said however the Minister had done what he said he could do for the monument, but the local development plan should take account of the aesthetics of the local area.

She warned that if they did not “embrace the national monument, we will be a laughing stock come 2016”. She believed considerable efforts were being made to divert attention from Moore Street to the GPO.

“Whether we like it or not, Moore Street is where the men and women moved after they left the GPO. They moved along those streets to what is now the national monument and then to the site of the Rotunda for the surrender.” The Minister told her there were specific guidelines around developments that affected a protected building. “If there is anything we can do on the matter in respect of our own responsibility I will certainly consider it,” she added.