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Easter Rising commemorations at the GPO, next to the Mooore St site. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
just two weeks

Delay leaves tight, tight deadline to finish 1916 museum

What should be done at the historic 1916 site on Moore St? Councillors can’t decide. And the clock is ticking. (Tick tock, etc.)

COUNCILLORS IN DUBLIN reached a decision last night — of sorts.

They chose to postpone voting on a contentious ‘land swap’ deal at the historic 1916 Moore Street site.

It means that, if the vote goes ahead next month as planned, the proposed museum at the centre of the deal would be finished just two weeks ahead of Easter 2016.

Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, the Greens and People Before Profit had looked set to vote down the plan if the motion had gone ahead at last night’s monthly meeting — meaning it would have been defeated.

Instead, a decision was reached to have the Moore Street Advisory Committee — which has cross-party membership — meet with other members of the Council and listen to their concerns.

The Committee will then come forward with recommendations for the project, after consultation with city planners — according to Independent Councillor Nial Ring, who chairs the panel.

“Over 50 per cent of members on the Council are new, and they may not have been aware of the work of the Committtee,” Ring said.

He said the panel was “committed to coming back as early as possible” with recommendations, adding that it was essential the vote goes ahead next month.

In a nutshell, the land-swap plan would involve developers Chartered Land carrying out €9 million worth of restoration works to turn 14 to 17 Moore Street into a museum centre. Funding would come from NAMA.

The Council would then take over ownership of the museum.

In exchange, the local authority would hand over numbers 24 and 25 Moore Street — currently the location of a cleaning depot. It’s planned that land would be used for the development of a large-scale shopping centre.

The leaders of the 1916 Rising surrendered in the building at 14-17 Moore Street, which is also the site of where the provisional government was headquartered during the Rising. A large-scale commemoration is being planned for two years’ time to mark the 100th anniversary.

Those in favour of the project are arguing that it would represent positive progress in establishing a national monument, which could be enjoyed by the whole city in time for the centenary.

Those against say the entire terrace of Moore Street, between Henry Street and Parnell Street, should be preserved.

That said, it’s a pretty complicated issue, and the debate’s been ongoing for years.

Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Songwriter Pete St John, great grandson of James Connolly James Connolly Heron and spokesperson for the Save Moore Street Campaign, Patrick Cooney outside 16 Moore Street.

The decision to put the vote back for a month was taken after a number of councillors sought clarifications about the plan, Ring said.

While the museum project initially had a proposed deadline for completion of six weeks before the 2016 ceremony, the delay means the window between the two events shrinks to just two weeks.

“Obviously that’s very tight,” Ring said.

“All members of committee want a decision made one way or another.

My own personal view is that I would want something there for 2016.

Some councillors have raised concerns about plans for the shopping complex proposed for the rest of the block, and suggested a Temple Bar-style initiative should be set up to look at an overall plan for the area.

Speaking yesterday, the Greens’ Ciarán Cuffe said the prospect of British high street stores conducting business at a site “where patriots lost their lives 98 years ago is difficult to reconcile”.

Paul McAuliffe of Fianna Fáil said he wouldn’t want to see a “string of superpubs and McDonalds” on the street.

Read: Why are councillors getting so worked up about Moore Street?

Read: Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected

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