Sinn Féin spokesperson on Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has said the decision of An Post to relocate 900 staff to a new headquarters offers the opportunity to reimagine the GPO as a cultural hub at the heart of the Moore St heritage site.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh added that the government must stop turning a blind eye to the developer-led destruction of the Moore St and O’Connell St areas, and that failing to do so would be viewed by future generations as an unforgivable act of state-sponsored vandalism.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“The relocation of An Post’s headquarters and 900 staff from the GPO offers us an incredible opportunity to reimagine this historic site as a cultural hub at the heart of the wider Moore St heritage and battlefield site.
“I welcome that the GPO will continue to operate its existing post office and 1916 museum, as there has been a worrying trend for years now of services and amenities in the O’Connell St area being run down or, worse, boarded up and discontinued.
“But over the next two years, the vast remaining space in the GPO will be returned to the Office of Public Works.
“Such a vast space in a building of such national historic importance should be ring-fenced for public use, and provide the platform from which O’Connell St and Moore St are made accessible to all and given the prominence they deserve.
“The fact that the government is standing idly by and doing nothing to protect and preserve Moore Street is a travesty, and does not fill me with confidence that they will give the GPO site the treatment it deserves either.
“The dilapidated state of Moore St and O’Connell St, facilitated by the government allowing developers to leave buildings rot and fall into ruin, is a national scandal.
“The current Hammerson developer-led project for Moore St must be reversed or it will be viewed by future generations as an unforgivable act of state-sponsored vandalism.
“Decision-makers appear incapable of grasping the cultural and historical tourism potential of restoring Moore Street to its former appearance of a century ago, so it can tell its story as a witness to many of the key events of the 1916 Rising as well as being key to the heart of Dubliners for generations.
“There is a real and tangible alternative plan for Moore St on the table, and there is a legal framework for a Cultural Quarter which was supported by all members of the Dáil, including government parties.
“The GPO, and the historic streetscape of Moore Street, must be protected, preserved and restored to allow future generations to appreciate the significance of the events of Easter Week 1916, as well ensuring the continuation of a living market, cultural spaces, and allowing local retailers to continue to trade.”