Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Calls to restore Moore Street site

No 16 Moore Street, the headquarters of the 1916 Rising

Campaigners have renewed calls for state intervention to stop the "disrespectful" demolition of the area surrounding the historic 1916 Rising battlefield site.

As Sinn Fein gears up to appeal for support from Government TDs to save and restore the monument in the Dail, the great-grandson of Republican father James Connolly said it was a modest demand.

James Connolly Heron, who has been fighting for the restoration of the Moore Street site for the last 10 years, said Nama-funded plans to tear down surrounding buildings to make way for a shopping centre need to be blocked.

"People are waking up to the fact that we have four years until the centenary," said Mr Connolly Heron. "We need something to show the Gathering in 2016. Are we going to show people a monument to the rising, or are we going to show them a shopping centre that is a monument to the Celtic Tiger?"

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has got behind the Moore Street campaign, which aims to restore the row of houses from 14 to 17 - where the rebel leaders met for the last time - and turn the area into "a cultural educational centre of excellence".

The Louth TD has secured backing from some Fianna Fail and Independent TDs, while Labour has previously gone on the record in support of the initiative.

But Mr Connolly Heron warned the mission must not be eclipsed by political point-scoring.

"That would be dishonouring the people we are trying to honour," he went on. "It doesn't belong to any party, it belongs to the people."

He pointed out that most political parties have some link with the 1916 Rising and therefore have an interest in saving the site.

He went on: "No public representative supports the plan as is. From that point of view we can be optimistic. It's now time to take action. It's time to walk the walk. It's a very modest demand. What we are asking is that what is already a designated national monument be protected, so that future generations will still remember."

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