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Hammerson approved by Dublin City Council to redevelop O'Connell and Moore Street

Mary Lou McDonald and the grandson of 1916 leader James Connolly have criticised the planned development.

An image of the development for Moore Street as envisaged in June
An image of the development for Moore Street as envisaged in June
Image: Hammerson

A PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT on the 5.5-acre plot stretching from O’Connell Street to Moore Street has been approved by Dublin City Council.

UK property group Hammerson lodged three applications for the €500 million redevelopment in order to construct a mixed retail, office and residential scheme on the city block.

Two of these three applications, which were lodged last June, have been approved by the council and will include residential, hotel, retail, restaurant and cafe and cultural uses on Moore Street and Henry Street.

A third, less significant, application on the northern end of Moore Street at O’Rahilly Parade, has not yet been approved.

The council has asked Hammerson to submit an amended daylight and sunlight analysis on the effect the development will have on nearby apartments.

Both Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin and the great-grandson of James Connolly, James Connolly Heron, have opposed the development because of the historical significance of the area.

The city block approved for development stretches west from O’Connell Street to Moore Street, and north from Henry Street to Parnell Street and was the site of fighting during the 1916 Easter Rising.

McDonald called on the government to act urgently to prevent “the destruction of Moore Street” which she described as “one of the most important sites in modern Irish history.”

McDonald is a TD for the Dublin-Central constituency, which contains Moore Street.

“This wrecking of our history and heritage cannot be allowed to happen. The legacy of 1916 and Moore Street belongs to the people of Ireland, not to a commercial developer intent on tearing it down for profit,” she said.

“Frankly, it is incredible that the Hammerson plan has gotten even this far. The decision flies in the face of Dublin’s City Council policy to have the 1916 terrace added to the list of protected structures.” 

During the Easter Rising significant fighting took place on Moore Street due to its proximity to the GPO.

Five of the seven signatories of the Proclamation, as well as Michael Collins and a group of Irish Volunteers, surrendered to British forces from a terrace of houses on Moore Street.

One of the approved applications for the site surrounds the 1916 Rising National Monument buildings at 14-17 Moore Street.

The buildings there are State-owned and due to be developed separately as a Rising Commemorative Centre, at an expected cost of over €16.25 million.

James Connolly Heron, great-grandson of 1916 leader James Connolly said that the council’s decision was “another significant blow to the unique heritage of Dublin,” and “will not stand unchallenged.”

He also stated that the street was in danger of being “lost forever.”

The other approved application will involve the destruction of two buildings: 38 Henry Street will be replaced with a passageway and 41 Henry Street will be replaced with a new building.

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The Department of Housing opposed the demolition of 38 Henry Street, deeming it “unnecessary,” however Dublin City Council approved its removal. This decision will be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Stephen Troy, chairperson of the Dublin 1 Business Alliance and owner of Troys’ Butchers on Moore Street, said the council had given Hammerson permission to “destroy” Moore Street.

“I believe this will go down as the biggest planning mistake in Irish history to date, as let’s not forget that this will lead to the existing 5.5-acre city centre retail core becoming a 15-year building site,” he told the Irish Times.

The site, which was known as the Carlton site for many years because it encompassed the old Carlton cinema, has been vacant and derelict in some areas for 40 years.

Hammerson issued a statement in which it welcomed the council’s decision. 

“This takes us another step closer to delivering what will be a landmark development for the city of Dublin,” it said. “We look forward to submitting a number of further applications for the remainder of the site in the coming months while we continue to work with all stakeholders.”

As part of Hammerson’s plans the facade of the Carlton cinema will be restored, as well as three protected structures, 42 O’Connell Street – the last remaining Georgian house on the street, O’Connell Hall at the back of No 42, and Conway’s pub.

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