On Thursday Dublin City Council’s Planning Department granted property speculator Hammerson planning permission to demolish most of the Moore Street area from the 1916 Terrace to O’Connell Street, despite many registered objections. They also agreed the demolition of Nos.38 (over the Housing Department’s objection) and 41 Henry Street near the southern end for the construction of a nine-storey hotel and a new passageway. In the 1916 Terrace, only Nos.14-17 (declared a “national monument” in 2007) and Nos.10 are saved from demolition, with Hammerson having to answer some further questions on sunlight etc for their separate plans for Nos.24-25 (currently the location of DCC’s Sanitation Department).
The Irish Times on Thursday carried a report on the decision with some objections quoted from two 1916 relatives and from Troy’s, a local butcher. Despite Olivia Kelly, Dublin Editor having a phone contact for us and knowing our willingness to be quoted on issues to do with Moore Street, we were never contacted.
As the article noted, the decision is likely to be appealed and so it is, by a number of campaigning groups and individuals. All those who registered their objections (as did a number of our group) are entitled to appeal to An Bord Pleanála. Sadly that Bord’s decisions have a record of favouring the speculator but in the event of an unfavourable decision there, the campaign still has the options of citizen’s democracy, with feet on the street.
Our core team on the street today was Bróna, Diarmuid and Daniel (able to rejoin us again – fáilte!) and Mary and Deirdre appeared in solidarity.
People kept coming up to the table to sign the petition and to encourage us to continue the fight – we were busy and only took a few photos and nearly ran out of leaflets, so that we’ll have to order more printed.
Two of Lorcán Collins’ 1916 Rising walking history tours came up the street. Lorcán himself always promotes our group and the campaign to his tour participants and did so on this occasion also to the GAA Under-22s Dublin Hurling team he was guiding. This spurred Bróna to tell them about her son Diarmuid Ó Loing’s plan to have a hurling match played in Croke Park to commemorate their relative Harry Boland (played for the Faughs) refereeing games in Croke Park. On 1st November 1914 Boland refereed the Senior Football Championship Final, Wexford Vs. Kerry which was a draw, replayed on 28th November 2014. Diarmuid referees for a GAA club in Sydney, is in touch with a Chicago club founded in 1925 and named for Harry Boland; he’d like them to play a commemorative game here on the August Bank Holiday if he can get over to referee it.
Troy’s is one of the independent butchers that have been in Moore Street for generations. Stephen Troy was quoted as commenting that the Planning Department has agreed to converting Moore Street into a building site for 15 years, with the destruction of any kind of Moore Street as it is or was (or can be).
Property speculators favour big chain stores when setting up shopping districts because they find them easier to deal with and capable of paying high rents. Nearly all the shops on Moore Street are independent traders, not chain stores like most of Henry Street and Grafton Street, which look like a British high street and become ghost streets after business hours. These chain stores have allegiance only to their head office (which is often not even in Ireland) and will close up without much notice when they feel it is to their advantage. However, independent shops are invested in their locality.
A whole row of independent shop fronts was swept away a few years ago when the Planning Department agreed to allow the ILAC shopping centre (half-owned by Hammerson) to extend further into Moore Street. Meanwhile, the Paris Bakery was evicted and many shop fronts were kept closed, helping to give a run-down appearance to the street so that people would support any change to it and, in particular, the speculator’s plans.
In that context it was sad to see No.10 boarded up today. The word is that DCC’s Planning Enforcement closed down the owner for violation of planning restrictions on redesigning the layout downstairs. It is interesting that Planning Enforcement, which has failed so often to protect Moore Street, can act so decisively when it suit them – or suits the speculator? Three or four businesses were evicted from there, including the Brazillian one from which we borrowed a chair every Saturday.
Also giving a desolate appearance to the street today was the absence of stalls (one was in business temporarily). The Council only issues 15 licences yearly now and not all are there at the same time. The street stall-holders have always been treated badly, without provision of toilets, running water or heating or lighting and fourth-generational stall-holders are unlikely to be replaced by their children. The street market has been systematically run down too, with restrictions, unkept promises and now offers of money to depart. But if they remain, they know that a building site there for even one year, never mind fifteen, will wipe them out anyway.
The rumour is that they will return to the street to be visible again there soon which would be something to be welcomed.
FROM NOW ON
The struggle continues and campaigners will be initiating a number of actions but we would also want to plan them in a sustainable way. Keep your eye on our posts and share them from time to time.