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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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1916 victory: Moore Street has been declared a 'battlefield site'

The government will now have to revisit an earlier decision which could lead to the demolition of certain buildings.

Protesters occupied some of the buildings earlier this year.
Protesters occupied some of the buildings earlier this year.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

First published 6.03 pm

VARIOUS BUILDINGS ON Moore Street have been declared a ‘battlefield site’ by the High Court, forcing the government to reconsider a decision not to classify them as a national monument.

It comes following a court action taken by the 1916 Relatives Group which sought to prevent the destruction of buildings on the street.

Last year, the government stepped in to buy the site at 14-17 Moore Street, the building where the Rising’s leaders met and decided to surrender.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys had argued that other buildings on the street, such as 13 and 18 and 19, “are not historically significant”.

Today’s decision by the court means that this must be reconsidered.

In a 400-page judgment today, Justice Max Barrett said the “wealth of evidence before the court” pointed to historical significance in some of the other buildings.

These include number 10, a portion of the parting wall at number 13 and number 18, as well as the building at 20-21 Moore Street.

Justice Barrett visited the site with archaeologists during the proceedings for what he described as a “memorable tour”.

“It was not difficult to recall the events of a century ago,” Justice Barrett said on his visit to the site. 

The courage of The O’Rahilly and his men as they charged up towards Parnell Street. The terrible nervousness that Nurse O’Farrell must have felt when she slipped into the street on the Saturday carrying a message from the Provisional Government for the British.
The mixed emotions that Pearse doubtless sensed as he took those last fateful steps up Moore Street to deliver his surrender.

8/1/2016. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Bar Richard Boyd Barrett TD at a protest at the site in January. Source: Rollingnews.ie

Reacting to the court’s decision, the minister said it “needs to be studied in detail”.

My priority up to this point has been to progress the important works to preserve the National Monument at No’s 14-17, which was the final headquarters of the 1916 leaders. My officials and I will consider this judgement in detail before making any decisions on further actions.

The minister added that she regrets that the public will not now be able to access the building at 14-17 Moore St during the centenary period as had been planned.

The judge’s decision to classify the buildings as a battlefield site was welcomed by Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. The deputy was at the High Court this afternoon and said it represented a victory “on behalf of the people of Ireland”.

“We call on the department to honour the spirit of the court findings and to immediately begin drawing up proper plans to appropriately capture the historical significance of this site and to invest the required monies so its future is secure,” he said.

The case was taken by Colm Moore on behalf of the 1916 Relatives Group.

You can read the full judgment here.

Read: ‘This is unacceptable to anyone who gives a damn about Irish history’ >

Read: ‘I slept in 18 Moore Street in protest this weekend. Once these buildings are gone, they’re gone’ >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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