Seanad debates

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

National Monuments

10:30 am

Photo of Mary FitzpatrickMary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for coming to the House to take this Commencement matter. I am looking for an update on when works will commence on the 1916 commemorative centre in Moore Street and on the regeneration of the street market. The Minister of State knows that Moore Street is at the heart of our capital city. It is a street where there has been market and street trading for generations, dating back to the 18th century. Fruit and vegetable traders are on the street, as well as shops and traders who live and trade on the street.

Over recent decades the street has deteriorated. It has been terribly neglected by the State and the city council to the point where there are very few owner-traders left on the street. Buckley's and Troy's are the only shop owners on the street, and street traders have been neglected for years and left without public lighting, running water and access to electricity. It is absolutely disgraceful how Dublin City Council has treated street traders. Those people have kept the street alive.

The street is also the birthplace of our Republic. Back on 24 April 1916, Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett led their soldiers to the GPO. For five days they battled with the British to assert our independence. They evacuated the GPO through Henry Street and Henry Place, onto Moore Lane and into Moore Street. The last meeting place and headquarters of the 1916 Rising was at 14-17 Moore Street. It was in 15 Moore Street that nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell made the surrender.

That site has been designated as a national monument for a very long time. Since I was first elected in 2004, no more than all of the relatives and those who trade on the street, I have worked for years with the State to try to regenerate the street and commemorate our history. I brought all of the reports on Moore Street with me today. What I have here is only a fraction of them. I could go on. There is a report on the Moore Street battlefield site, an architectural report, a securing history report and a citizens plan. There are nearly more reports than there were volunteers in the GPO. The State needs to step up to the plate.

There are two final reports. I chaired the Moore Street expert group on Dublin City Council before I was appointed to the Seanad. We made strong recommendations to create a vibrant and diverse market that speaks to the future as well as respecting our past. In May this year, I was delighted to be the Fianna Fáil representative, along with my colleague, Councillor Eimear McCormack, on the Minister's advisory group. We produced a third securing history report which makes strong recommendations for the national monument and street market.

It is unreasonable for us to expect anybody to respect the street when the State is not respecting history and street traders. I hope the Minister of State can give us some good news today regarding a commencement date for the work on the national monument at 14-17 Moore Street and a commemorative centre. A great vision document has been produced by the Irish Heritage Trust. I hope the Minister of State will be able to advise the House today on a commencement date for that. I also hope he will be able to advise us on when Dublin City Council will get its act together and regenerate the street market.


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