METROPOLITAN district councillors have given their support to save one of the most historic districts in Ireland.
Sinn Fein councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh secured unanimous support for his motion calling on Arts Minister Heather Humphreys to “protect and preserve” the Moore Street area of Dublin.
In particular, he emphasised the terrace between 10-25 which was occupied by the Volunteers at the end of Easter Week 1916.
Developers have planning permission in place for a major shopping centre in the area, something that is being fought by objectors locally.
They include Cllr Ó Ceallaigh, who said: “The GPO may be the iconic building of the Easter Rising, but Moore Street was where much fighting and debate took place, and has the potential to become a major tourist attraction. We cannot sacrifice our history for commercialism. Once history has been destroyed it can never be rebuilt. This is the equivalent of the King John’s Castle being knocked down to make way for a new shopping centre.”
The motion was seconded by his party colleague Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, who also highlighted plans to have an Irish flag seized by British forces from Limerick returned to the city. It is currently at London’s Imperial War Museum.
But Northside councillor Michael Hourigan was critical of the councillors for putting national issues on the agenda of the monthly metropolitan meeting.
“We are a local council, we need to deal with local issues,” he said.
“I want to talk about estates in Corbally which are in terrible conditions. I want to talk about Patrickswell and the Westfields Wetlands. We devote too much time to issues we have no control over.”
Cllr Séighin Ó Ceallaigh, whose notice of motion it was relating to Moore Street, retorted: “If Dublin Castle was to be demolished and used as a shopping mall, we would not say no to supporting Dublin councillors on it.”
Cllr Daniel Butler interjected: “Some matters are of no relevance to the people of Limerick, and are not appropriate to this chamber. It is the responsibility of councillors as to what actually goes on the agenda”
Pat Dowling, manager of the metropolitan district, pledged to sit down with councillors in a bid to make the agenda more relevant.
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, Fianna Fail, pointed out that the eight members in his own area can only meet officials as part of the 21 member metropolitan district. Yet, he argued, councillors in the rural districts can meet officials through much smaller meetings, with just six or seven people.
“There is something fundamentally wrong with that,” he added.
Mr Dowling said: “This is a unique problem for Limerick, and we need to work to manage it.”
Cllr O’Hanlon interjected: “We need to change it (the law)”.
Mr Dowling said: “Well, good luck with that”.