As Dublin City Council continues to debate and prevaricate over saving what is left of the capital’s 1916 Battlefield Quarter below is a timely reminder of the background to the ongoing scandal. Would the French ponder the preservation of the Bastille or the Americans the safeguarding of Bunker Hill? Of course not but here in Ireland, where politics and business walk hand-in-hand, history and culture come a poor second place to corruption and cronyism.
In 2012 the ground-breaking TG4 documentary “Iniúchadh – Oidhreacht na Cásca” examined for the first time in any detail the long-standing allegations that Dublin City Council had abused its powers to procure the battlefield site for the development company Treasury Holdings, uncovering a secret agreement signed between public servants and the developer Joe O’ Reilly of Chartered Land, an agreement made without the knowledge of the city’s elected councillors. For thirty years large areas around O’Connell Street, the capital’s main thoroughfare, lay derelict and this investigation answers the question asked by many: why?
I continue to support those who wish to turn the GPO complex of buildings into a Cultúrlann or Irish language civic centre with education, entertainment and production facilities (similar to those that already exist in Belfast and Derry but – bizarrely – not here in the national capital). This Teach na Saoirse would extend into the surrounding district including parts of Henry Street and Moore Street, creating an embryonic Gaeltacht Uirbeach or Urban Gaeltacht. Within this area would be sited a museum dedicated to the Irish Revolution. What could be more fitting to the memory and above all the aspirations of those who fought and died in 1916?
[H/T to Roghnú Glas]