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'An act of sheer wanton corporate vandalism': Former home of 1916 leader demolished in Dublin

The property at 40 Herbert Park was bulldozed this morning.

LAST UPDATE | 29 Sep 2020

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL is investigating the circumstances surrounding the demolition of the former home of a 1916 Rising leader in Ballsbridge this morning.

The property at 40 Herbert Park, which once belonged to The O’Rahilly, was bulldozed by a company developing the site at around 6.30am this morning.

The site and two adjoining addresses at 36 and 38 Herbert Park are set to be developed into 105 apartments and the extension of an aparthotel by Derryroe Limited, a company owned by the Kennedy and McSharry families.

Dublin city councillors had passed a motion earlier this month to have the property added to the Record of Protected Structures, which would have prevented its demolition.

However, it is unclear if this application was successful before the house was bulldozed this morning.

In a statement this afternoon, a spokesperson for the local authority confirmed that the council was looking into the destruction of the historic property.

“Dublin City Council is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the demolition of 40 Herbert Park,” a statement said.

“Once the City Council has ascertained the facts, it will take any appropriate action.”

The house was built in 1907 and The O’Rahilly, the only 1916 leader to die in battle, was the first occupant of the property. His widow lived there until her death in the 1960s.

Earlier this month, Derryroe was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála to develop the site, despite objections by local residents, Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews, Dublin City councillor Micheál Mac Donncha, the 1916 Relatives Alliance , and O’Rahilly’s grandson.

An architectural heritage report carried out on behalf of the company found that removing the house would “not represent a loss of significant architectural or historic fabric”.

Speaking outside the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh described the demolition as an act of “sheer wanton corporate vandalism”.

“The developers, who moved onto the site and levelled the house this morning, attempted to remove any trace of a house that played a very valuable part in Irish history,” he said.

“I think once again we’re seeing what we saw in the 1970s, and after: the sheer corporate greed which will destroy Irish history and Irish heritage in this city if it’s allowed to go unchecked.”

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