Preserving Our Past, Rising to Our Future

A Letter From Ireland

a Chara,

This week I attended a conference on the future of Moore Street in Dublin hosted by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald in the GPO on O’Connell Street.

Many will have traveled along the street linking Parnell Street with Henry Street. Along one side is the Ilac shopping center and the other is a dilapidated terrace of houses and shop fronts. Despite years of neglect, it is a vibrant host to fruit stalls, flower sellers, and ethnic food shops.

A short walk from our offices on Parnell Square, Moore Street is a dynamic blend of the old and new Dublin – full of noise and colour.

There are currently plans to demolish the street and the surrounding buildings to make way for another shopping center.

Moore Street is more than just a street. It was the last meeting place of the Provisional Government.

At the end of Easter Week 1916 with the GPO ablaze, the order was given to evacuate the building. The rebels and their leaders, under intense gunfire, made their way to the terrace of houses on Moore Street. The injured James Connolly was carried along the laneways on a stretcher.

The rebels attempted to fight their way out of the street but were gunned down. Surrounded, the leaders of the Provisional Government met on a row of terrace houses on Moore Street. It was there that the order to surrender was issued. The leaders would be arrested and executed in the following weeks.

The current government of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has backed the plans to effectively demolish the battlefield site for a mall of retail shops and fast food outlets.

The US knows the value of preserving historical battlefield sites. One American friend was horrified to hear of the plans and likened it to building a drive-through in the Almo.

The years of neglect, and the plans to demolish it are emblematic of the one hundred years Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have governed the state. They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. They failed to make good on the promise and vision of the leaders of 1916.

The official neglect and abandonment of Moore Street is a fitting tribute to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. It is not a fitting tribute to the rebels who fought to establish a Republic that, “guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation.”

The Moore Street Preservation has alternative plans not only to preserve the site but to enhance it. To make it a living, breathing, and prosperous cultural quarter. A site to inspire generations to come to work for the common good of all who share our island.

The proposals are common sense, workable, exciting, and a unique alternative to another bland shopping mall.  

More information can be found on the Moore Street Preservation Trust Facebook page.

The conference was aptly entitled “Preserving our Past – Rising to Our Future”.

Have a great weekend.

Is mise,

Ciarán

Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North AmericaEach week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.