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Moore Street preservation campaigners accused of harassing workers

Published 08/08/2016

A plaque marking the spot where Irish Republicans leaders were cornered, in the 1916 Easter Rising, before giving themselves up to British army, at 16 Moore Street, Dublin
A plaque marking the spot where Irish Republicans leaders were cornered, in the 1916 Easter Rising, before giving themselves up to British army, at 16 Moore Street, Dublin

Campaigners opposed to redevelopment of the Moore Street battlefield site in Dublin have been accused of harassing workers and illegally entering the grounds.

Activists from Save Moore Street 2016 said repeated calls for an independent inspection of the preservation and construction works on the old terrace have been refused by Government officials.

A number of people from the group entered the site and recorded some of the work being carried out on where the 1916 Rising leaders held their last Council of War.

It said about 300 photos and videos were taken inside the buildings.

The group claimed a banner put up to commemorate the centenary of the rebellion had damaged external brick work.

But the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said it had reported the campaigners to the gardai and accused them of breaking the law.

"The people concerned, who have not been identified, vacated the site after the intervention of gardai," a spokesman said.

Heather Humphreys, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said no reputable conservation professional qualified or able to offer any judgment on the works would have gone on to the site in the manner the protesters did.

The future of the National Monument on Moore St has been at the heart of increasingly bitter legal battles.

A large parcel of land next to it from the old Carlton cinema site fronting O'Connell Street to part of the old 1916 battlefield site behind the GPO was given the green light for a commercial development in 2007.

Only numbers 14-17 on the terrace were to be preserved under the original order but a High Court ruling in April stalled those plans and the initial construction work on the Government's proposals for a 1916 Commemorative Centre at No 16.

Current work must be restricted to protecting the structure.

A spokesperson for the Save Moore Street campaigners said: " This action was place as part of the continuing and escalating campaign for the creation of a revolutionary quarter in the Moore Street area to ensure recognition for those men and women and the values they stood up for in 1916 Easter Rising against the British Empire.

"No harm on the part of the campaigners came to this declared National Monument."

Ms Humphrey's department said the "necessary preservation" works by the High Court were disrupted by activists.

"Works being undertaken to the National Monument are mandated by the High Court and are being undertaken by Lissadell Construction - a specialist contractor of note and award in the conservation of historic buildings," it said in a statement.

"The works are being done under the supervision of the chief archaelogist of the National Monuments Service and her colleagues, who include conservation architects.

"Illegal entry onto the site, such as happened this morning, and the continuous harassment of the employees of Lissadell as they go about this necessary conservation work is, in fact, endangering the monument."

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