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1916 Quarter Development Bill 2015

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Snippet Contents:

The justified significance and importance of the Easter Rising are not lost on the Government. As the Minister of State, Deputy Coffey, indicated last night, the Government is taking a number of positive initiatives to commemorate the event and to build fitting tributes to the 1916 leaders and the sacrifice they made on our behalf. As many Deputies, particularly Deputy Mulherin, pointed out, every community in the country will get an opportunity to take part in the commemoration and celebration of our history in a mature way.
In respect of the buildings at Nos. 14 to 17 Moore Street, the Government has acquired the national monument and work has commenced to pave the way for a commemorative centre. This will be a fitting tribute to the 1916 leaders and is an important element of the 2016 centenary programme. This project will enable people to step back in time and experience the building as it was when the 1916 leaders held their last council of war there. They will be able to see the rooms the leaders were in and view the passages they broke through. The centre will be a significant addition to the many other major projects being developed as part of the commemorations. Unlike other adjacent properties, these buildings also retain significant and extensive internal 18th century elements, including staircases, partitions, plasterwork, doors, floors, fittings and fixtures. The form and profile of the 18th century buildings also survive. Most importantly, we will also have the physical evidence of the presence of the insurgents, in the form of the openings broken through party walls.
With regard to the "laneways of history", I wish to make the following points. Under the planning permission given by An Bord Pleanála in 2010, Moore Street will continue as an open street, as part of the wider development plans for the area. Henry Place, Moore Lane and O'Rahilly Parade are also to be retained. Before any development takes place, a detailed project proposal must be submitted to Dublin City Council, in which the historic significance of the central locations along the evacuation route from the GPO are featured and interpreted. It will be up to Dublin City Council to consider these matters in due course.
On the question of whether the whole terrace should be saved, I would point out that most of the other buildings on Moore Street have been altered extensively since 1916 and they retain little of the historic fabric and character of the time. A number of other buildings on Moore Street date from after 1916. The Government would like to see the wider street appropriately developed and I understand Dublin City Council is progressing plans in this regard. However, the responsibility of the Government is for the national monument and we are pleased with the work under way to preserve it and to develop a commemorative centre that will be a major visitor attraction for Dublin's historic trail in the future and will significantly enhance the overall appeal of this historic part of our capital city and breathe new life into the community and economy of the north inner city.
With regard to this Bill, the Government appreciates the constructive motivation that brought it about. It presents a very interesting idea. However, we cannot support it for the reasons stated last night, which I will not repeat. I wish to assure the House that the Government is determined to follow up on the many initiatives already commenced and to deliver a commemoration appropriate to the importance of the 1916 Rising. As stated, the new commemorative centre will act as a lasting and appropriate tribute to the 1916 leaders, to whom we are all indebted. It will allow people to step back in time to the dramatic final moments of the Easter Rising. Coupled with the new visitor centre being developed in the GPO, just a few minutes walk away, the Moore Street commemorative centre will be a permanent commemoration of the Easter Rising and a fitting tribute to its leaders.
The Bill presents a very interesting idea and perhaps the Deputy should make a presentation to Dublin City Council, which plays a central role in respect of this issue. We regret that planning laws have had a chilling effect on this proposal and that we cannot accept the Bill.