No room for 'token flag waving' on Rising anniversary

 

UPCOMING CELEBRATIONS to mark the 1916 Rising should not take the shape of “token flag waving” and should include a commemorative museum on Moore Street where leaders of the Rising met for the last time, according to Eamon Gilmore.

The Labour leader was yesterday brought on a tour by the descendants of the 1916 leaders, including James Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly.

The relatives are campaigning for the national monument at 14 to 17 Moore Street to be protected from redevelopment.

The site around the GPO and Moore Street is set to be redeveloped after An Bord Pleanála approved planning permission in March for a major redevelopment of the Carlton Cinema site.

Developer Joe O’Reilly was granted permission for an 800,000 sq ft development which will comprise 98 retail units, 69 residential units, 48,400 sq ft of restaurants and coffee houses and about 700 car parking spaces, taking in most of a block of Upper O’Connell Street and fronting on to Henry Street, Moore Street, O’Rahilly Parade and Parnell Street.

The facade of the buildings would be preserved, but the relatives say around 60 per cent of the internal structure would be affected by such a development, infringing on a battlefield site of national interest.

The group followed the route taken by some of the leaders and volunteers from the GPO to 16 Moore Street, where some leaders of the Rising and several of the garrison met for the last time, and where their surrender was arranged.

Mr Gilmore said the buildings should be developed as a commemorative museum.

“There is a lot of talk now about the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising coming up, and the Labour Party supports the campaign which has been initiated by the descendants of the leaders of the 1916 Rising to have these buildings properly preserved, properly commemorated, and an appropriate museum and commemorative centre developed there in conjunction with the GPO. Our commemoration of 1916 should not just be a token flag-waving commemoration, but it should be real, and I think there is an obligation on the State to respond positively to the relatives of the 1916 leaders to go with this project.”

Mr Connolly Heron said a museum site should be developed separately. “Our position is that the Moore Street district or area should be treated as a separate development from the proposed retail development, and that it be developed as an historic or cultural quarter as a fitting memorial to the 1916 Rising.”