Monday 18 December 2017

Stars back occupation of 1916 Rising buildings as minister 'concerned'

Damien Dempsey performing outside the occupied buildings on Moore Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Damien Dempsey performing outside the occupied buildings on Moore Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Singer Damien Dempsey and Love/Hate actor John Connors have lent their support to protesters who are delaying renovation works on buildings relating to the 1916 Rising.

Protesters have occupied 14-17 Moore Street since Thursday evening over concerns that the entire terrace isn't being protected from demolition and redevelopment.

More than 100 people gathered as Dempsey performed an impromptu show at the protest site.

Meanwhile, Connors - who played 'Patrick' on the RTE crime drama - criticised the Government for not protecting the whole terrace. He claimed that plans for redeveloping parts of the street would "destroy a national monument".

"It's unbelievable, choosing money over history. People, both well known and not well known, should come out in numbers because we need to try and stop this (works), and we're running out of time," he told the Herald.

"I absolutely, wholeheartedly, support the protesters and what they are doing," he added.

Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh also visited the site in support of the protesters yesterday.

The Government last week said that the occupation of 14-17 Moore Street will cost €30,000 for each day restoration work is delayed.

Some of the buildings - including the location of the last council of war held by the 1916 rebellion leaders - are being converted into a new commemorative centre.

Last night, Arts minister Heather Humphreys said she is "concerned" at the involvement of what she called "extremist" groups in the protest, and at the potential damage to the site as it continues.

"These people do not represent the views of the vast majority of Irish people. With each day that the conservation works are halted, the protesters are jeopardising our chances of being able to grant access to the buildings for the centenary," she said.

A department statement said that the minister's only remit on Moore Street is with the national monument, adding: "she does not have control over the wider street".

"The development of the wider street is a matter for Dublin City Council," it added.

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