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30 April 2009 Edition

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Bord Pleanála is last line of defence for 1916 HQ

UP IN ARMS: Campaigners rally round the 1916 HQ

UP IN ARMS: Campaigners rally round the 1916 HQ

AN Bord Pleanála is now the last line of defence for the last headquarters of the leaders of the 1916 Rising. So said Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan at a public hearing of an appeal against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission  for a highly controversial plan to develop Dublin’s historic Moore Street area.
Arthur Morgan was accompanied at last week’s appeal hearing by a Sinn Féin public representative in Dublin’s North Inner City, Ruadhán Mac Aodháin.
The proposed €1.25 billion development of the Carlton Cinema Site will result in major alterations to the numbers 14 to 17 Moore Street, which were designated a National Monument in 2006.
An Bord Pleanála is responsible in the 26 Counties for the determination of appeals and certain other matters under the Planning and Development Acts.
Morgan who made an oral submission of behalf of the Sinn Féin Oireachtas team reminded the Bord Pleanála inspector that An Bord Pleanála is the last line of defence between developers and a sight of significant historical importance.
The Louth TD said that “16 Moore Street was the last head quarters of the Provisional Government and we are very lucky – the wall of 16 Moore Street was never breached by the British Army  and the question is whether the Bord will allow developers to breach them.
On the eve of the hearing, 500 people protested at Moore street, and formed a human chain around 16 Moore Street. The protest which was organised by the families of the singatories of the 1916 Proclamation and National Graves Association was attended by Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald.

SUBMISSIONS
In the first days of the hearing, a number of submissions were made to an Bord Pleanála opposing the plan.
The Georgian Society of Ireland told the hearing that it strongly opposed the relocation of the protected structures, and the insertion of a new plaza on O’Connell Street. The society’s assistant director Emmeline Henderson said the plaza would “detract from the 18th-century urban form” of O’Connell Street and “compromises the existing civic spine”.
Developers, Chartered Land, told the hearing that the scheme would make a “positive and powerful contribution to the city as a whole” but others have said the site would constitute a gross overdevelopment.
Damien Cassidy of the National Heritage and Conservation Group said developers consider the Carlton site to be a brownfield building site devoid of any architectural merit, historic and cultural importance.
While at all times Chartered Developments who are proposing the plan insisted that the National Monument would not be built on and that the development would take place around the National Monument, it was revealed during last Thursday’s presentation by the proponents of the plan that the development would in fact involve a breach of the walls of 14-17 Moore Street.
Sinn Féin public representative Ruadhán Mac Aodháin who attended a number of the sessions believes that the plan will have a disastrous affect on the  character of Moore street and O’Connell Street as a historical quarter.
“It beggars belief that a development plan could even have gotten this far. The plan proposed by Chartered Developments is a dinosaur development. It will not only damage irrevocably one of the most significant buildings in Ireland’s republican history but it will also undermine the character of the area through an unnecessary concentration of restaurants and shops.”
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