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Victory for campaigners as Moore Street ‘battlefield' site declared a national monument

Relatives of the 1916 leaders have claimed a major victory in the run-up to the Easter Rising centenary after the High Court in Dublin declared Moore Street as a National Monument following a decade long campaign. Claire Simpson reports

The 1916 leaders set up their headquarters in Moore Street after the GPO came under heavy bombardment

CAMPAIGNERS have hailed the High Court in Dublin's decision to declare Moore Street as a National Monument ahead of the Easter Rising centenary.

A judge declared on Friday that key buildings in the Moore Street area are a "battlefield site" and make up a national monument.

The ruling comes in a case taken by Colm Moore as a nominee of the 1916 Relatives' Association.

Minister for Arts and Heritage, Heather Humphreys, had argued only one terrace of buildings at numbers 14-17 Moore Street should be protected as a monument.

The buildings are believed to be where the leaders of the 1916 Rising gathered prior to their surrender and execution.

But Mr Moore and the 1916 Relatives' Association claimed the monument designation should have included lands and buildings of the terrace at numbers 13, 18 and 19, and several basements.

The court's decision means Ms Humphreys must reconsider her view there is no wider 1916 Rising "battlefield site" on and around Moore Street.

Mr Justice Max Barrett has restrained the minister from carrying out any further work to numbers 13-19 Moore Street until she considers the judgment and decides how she intends to proceed.

Work will now stop on the development of a new commemorative centre at numbers 14-17.

Following the High Court ruling, Ms Humphreys said the 400-page judgment "needs to be studied in detail".

She added that the ruling means the public will not be able to access 14-17 Moore Street during the centenary period as had been planned.

James Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly, said: "This is the culmination of a decade-long campaign where citizens of Dublin came together to protect and preserve the very birthplace of the Republic, stood together in principle over a decade against great odds, almost the same as the odds that the volunteers of 1916 went out to meet".

"So today is an amazing day for us and there’s a lot of work remains to be done," he said.

"But certainly today shows that on each and every occasion that we have met with government officials, various ministers, we have been correct in asserting that what is at stake here is the future of the birthplace of the nation.

"This area of the Moore Street area is the last extant 1916 battle field. It must be preserved and protected at all costs. So the campaign continues."

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the judgment was "a victory for the people of Ireland".

"It is a metaphor of our times that in this centenary year of the 1916 Easter Rising that the relatives of the 1916 leaders and their supporters should be forced to take the State to the high court in order to save our national heritage, and that the state was defending the interests of a developer," he said.

"The incoming Government must now go back to the drawing board with all stakeholders, and act urgently to preserve and develop the GPO/Moore Street area to become a historic revolutionary quarter which is of social, cultural and economic benefit to Dublin and the rest of Ireland.

"This would also be a fitting memorial to the men and women of 1916."

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