Monday, 22 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I condemn any threats that have been made against any elected representatives. We all agree such threats are inappropriate and should be condemned by everybody, no matter what political background we come from.
I will address the 105th anniversary of the Easter Rising. I commend the work of my colleague in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, on a Private Member's Bill to create a cultural quarter on the Moore Street and surrounding areas battlefield site. The Ceathrú Chultúir 1916 Bill 2021, which is a vision for Moore Street, will be debated on Second Stage in the Dáil on Wednesday. I recommend that everyone take time to read the detailed proposal for this hugely important historical site. The Moore Street terrace and laneways are the physical environs of one the seminal chapters in Irish history and our struggle for independence. The hoarding of the land and the initial proposal to destroy this site and create an enormous shopping centre represented the worst of the Celtic tiger excesses. When I brought that proposal to the director of democratic governance at the Council of Europe she could not believe that any State would willingly destroy the historical fabric of its capital city. Even as a person who is not from Dublin, she looked at the map and was able to ask why we would need more retail space when the location is literally surrounded by shopping centres. We have moved on a few years now and while the proposal for retail on the site has been scaled back, it now favours office space. After a year of pandemic, does any Member of this House really believe that Dublin needs more office space?
Deputy Ó Snodaigh's Bill proposes to legally recognise an Ceathrú Chultúir, preserve the built heritage of Moore Street and its curtilage and protect it from destruction. The proposal would also create a cultural quarter around Moore Street, which would boost tourism and footfall and would have a permanent outdoor market. It would give space to the development of art, music and sport and promote Irish heritage, culture, history and language. It would be a living museum to educate and prompt further research into our history. For too long, Dublin's north inner city has been neglected. The creation of an Ceathrú Chultúir would put heritage and culture at the centre of its social and economic regeneration.
I hope the Government will not prevent the progress of this Private Member's Bill. I look forward to the Bill coming before the Seanad in the future. I remind Senators that the proposal is in line with the Green Party proposals for the area.It is also in keeping with a proposal brought before this House in the past by the then Senator and current Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O'Brien. I encourage my colleagues to ask their colleagues in the Dáil not to block the progress of this Private Members' Bill.