Photo: A group of students demanding answers from Minister Heather Humphreys back in February 2016.
6-13 Feabhra 2021 - Anniversary of the start of the 6-week blockade
In this period in 2016 the Save Moore Street 2016 group, of which we were a part, began the Blockade of the buildings to prevent any damage by contractors. This was because although the High Court had ordered the planned demolition of Nos.13 and 18 to stop pending hearing of the case brought by Colm Moore, heavy machinery could be heard inside and neither contractors nor the Minister of Heritage would permit inspection by campaigners or a number of TDs and Councillors, including the Mayor.
Our campaign group had joined with others to found the SMS2016 group and some of our members participated in the Blockade, the “Citizens’ Injunction”, preventing building contractors from entering every weekday from early morning until late afternoon, through usually really cold weather and sometimes rain, for six weeks until the historic High Court judgement that the whole quarter is a historical national monument (overturned a year later in appeal by the Minister).
Market Expert Group
The Market Expert Group, a sub-group of the Mayor’s Forum on Moore Street had perhaps its last meeting during the week. Chaired first by Mary Fitzpatrick, then a FF Councillor and now a Senator, for most of its life it was chaired by Donna Cooney, Green Party Councillor.
Our campaign group is represented on this Group and we attended all meetings, most of which have been held on line. The task of the Expert Group has been to produce a vision, a report of recommendations for improvements to the market and street, ranging from the immediate to the longer term. Two people who operate markets were hired to draw up a draft report, into which the rest of the group made recommendations for addition to or removal from the draft recommendations.
One controversy that took place over a number of meetings was whether to refer in the Report to the current planning permission for a shopping centre held by Hammerson. Our representative and small business representation argued for a mention that the redevelopment plan would impact disastrously on the developments envisaged in the Report but this was opposed by others who argued that this was not part of the remit of the Expert Group and that a good Vision would in itself be a strong argument against the redevelopment plan.
We maintained confidentiality on this controversy during the period but since it was brought up again in the public arena of the Mayor’s Forum, we feel free to comment on it now. During the said Forum meeting it was agreed that there would be a reference to concerns about redevelopment — we and others await seeing what the form of words will be.
Mayor’s Forum on Moore Street
The Mayor’s Forum on Moore Street also met during the week, also chaired by Councilor Donna Cooney and the main recommendations of the Draft Report were presented to it, the discussion referred to above taking up part of the meeting.
Our representative raised the issue of the DCC-commissioned report undertaken by James Kelly in the past into the listing of buildings other than 14-17 in the historic Terrace as deserving of Protected Structures of Historical Importance status. Some members of the Forum pointed out that while it could be viewed in the DCC office it had not been published nor was it permitted to be copied (presumably because Hammerson’s lawyers had threatened legal action and the City Managers had capitulated). Some members said the Kelly Report had been leaked and would share it (we will publish it).
A Planning Officer attending the Forum meeting at the request of the Chair told our representative that “a valid Planning Permission takes precedence” over any designation of structures of historical importance. Cnlr. John Lyons asked for the section of the Planning Laws stating this and the Planning Officer agreed to circulate the section. On reading said section, we are not of the opinion that it bears out his assertion.
Our representative pointed out that there are actions that can be progressed with hardly any delay and asked for them to be placed on the agenda for the next Forum meeting, which will hopefully be hearing reports of their progression:
- identifying and costing development of toilet and washing site for street traders
- signposting the O’Rahilly Monument in O’Rahilly Parade, running off Moore Street
- publication of the Kelly Report on the listing of buildings other than 14-17 as deserving of Protected Structures of Historical Importance.
Both of last two above have been proposed by our campaign and agreed by the Forum for some considerable time, the O’Rahilly Monument signposting for over two years. “You’d have to wonder why such simple resolutions are not carried out over such a long period of time,” our representative said. “One can only logically assume that they are not carried out because someone does not want them carried out.” The main quarter to benefit from such studied inaction is of course the property speculator, to whom the area is essentially a commercial development site.
The meeting ended with a motion rushed through and agreed with hardly any discussion, committing the Forum to seek admission from Hammerson for inspection of a reported breach in the party wall between Nos.12 and 13. The Chair undertook to write to Hammerson asking them to admit that inspection and we have since asked the Forum for a representative of ours to be part of the inspection group.
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