I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
Ba mhaith liom an deis seo a thógáil mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leo siúd ar fad a ghríos mé agus a chuidigh liom an obair seo a chur i gcrích. Gabhaim buíochas leo siúd ar fad atá gafa leis an bhfeachtas chun Sráid an Mhúraigh a chaomhnú. Tá a lán acu ann a bhí gafa san fheachtas sin sula raibh mise ceangailte leis. I thank my colleagues for allowing me to move Second Stage of the Ceathrú Chultúir 1916 Bill 2021. I look forward not only to seeing it progressing today but also to its progress through Committee Stage and back to the House again. Its purpose is to ensure that an area of Dublin city centre that is now quite derelict will be the location of an appropriate cultural quarter and an appropriate memorial to those who fought and died in 1916.
There are people who are consumed with anti-Sinn Féin hostility and cannot see beyond criticism of this legislation. In fact, the Bill is based on legislation that was introduced by the then Senator, now Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, for which I applauded him at the time. There have been other Bills introduced seeking to ensure that this area be set up as an appropriate cultural quarter. I want to see that concept of a cultural quarter located in the heart of the city, in an area which is celebrated by many as being quintessentially Dublin. We want an area that celebrates, commemorates and illustrates what it was like to be a volunteer of Cumann na mBan, Óglaigh na hÉireann or the Irish Citizen Army, or a member of Fianna Éireann, rushing jaded from the inferno that was the GPO that Friday in April 1916, a few long days after the Proclamation was first read aloud on O'Connell Street. It should show what it was like for the IRA garrison that ran up Henry Place with James Connolly on a stretcher, under constant fire, before breaking into No. 10 Moore Street, disturbing the residents and then starting to burrow all the way down the terrace. I cannot do justice in the few minutes I have to the atmosphere, tension and apprehension of all those long hours in Moore Street.
The historian Ray Bateson used survivors' own words in a beautifully-put-together bilingual book, Battle of Moore Street 1916 Cath Shráid Uí Mhórdha. It is published by Kilmainham Tales. He has captured all that for us. I urge those who have an interest to purchase a copy. It is a beautiful book and it is easily read.
How did it feel to be a volunteer in O'Hanlon's yard at 20-21 Moore Street while Tom Clarke, Joseph Plunkett, and Michael Collins tried to persuade the volunteers to stand down after the Army Council had met in 16 Moore Street and decided on the surrender? How did it feel to hear the persuasive calm quite comments from Seán Mac Diarmada when he outlined that only the leaders would be shot and that the ordinary volunteer would live to fight another day? "We, who will be shot, will die happy - knowing that there are still plenty of you around who will finish the job." That is a quote from the book. "All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born", as Yeats says in the poem Easter, 1916. How right he was. Many of the men and women gathered in that yard and in the houses of Moore Street at that time were to regroup, reorganise and learn from the week-long Republic as they began the next phase of the long fight for freedom after a few short months of incarceration in Frongoch internment camp.
Moore Street is not only about the Rising. It is, was and will be a street market and a living street with residents, shops, cafes and stalls. The Mercier Press book, Moore Street: The Story of Dublin's Market District by Barry Kennerk is an essential read for those who want to learn about the long history of the street, the market and its characters. When we think of Dublin we think of the street traders crying "Two for a penny", "Two for a pound" or, nowadays, "Two for a euro". I do not think "Two for a bitcoin" will really take off but one never knows and we will see in the future. Anyway, they are the phases associated with the history of the area. Those phases capture the breadth of the market for the 150 years it has been in place.
The intention of the Bill is to preserve the lanes and buildings of Moore Street. It is to restore the cobble lanes and the buildings to their former condition and then awaken the area again with life and make it a living museum.
The area of cultural and historical tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of tourism today. Many of us have been to other cities and enjoyed the historical experience. Through the use of modern technology, hologram, sound effects, lighting and graphics we would create such an experience from the now due-to-be-empty GPO all the way down the terrace of Moore Street. We should think of what could be achieved. It is to do with imagination and we need imagination. That is why I have been trying to ensure this proposal has been to the fore in all of our plans for that area. There could be small galleries, book shops, cafes, butchers, bakers, fruit stalls, flower shops, other stalls and tea shops. Let us think of the smells and sights that people get when they visit a French or other continental town or city where there is a fresh produce market. This is intertwined with all the other activities and life in general. That is what Moore Street could be rather than what has been planned over the years, whether a huge shopping mall or office blocks. We cannot stand idly by, to use a term from history, and watch as developers plan to destroy what is our architectural heritage. Once that heritage is gone, it is gone forever and no one can then recreate history in the way that we want to see it. That is not possible if there is a big block of apartments or offices on top of the area.
Is éard atá i gceist leis an gcomhlacht atá in ainm is a bheith curtha ar siúl ag an reachtaíocht seo ná go mbeadh muid cinnte de go mbeadh an bheocht athuair sa sráid seo, Sráid Uí Mhúraigh, agus go mbeadh stair, litríocht, ceol, rince agus ealaín ar siúl beagnach an t-am go léir, fite fuaite leis an ngnáth oibre atá ag tarlú ar an tsráid. B’fhéidir go mbeadh ceangal chomh maith le Cearnóg Parnell, áit atá músaem na scríbhneoirí, dánlann Hugh Lane agus ina mbeadh leabharlann na cathrach ann chomh maith. Thar na blianta, dúradh linn nach féidir leis seo tarlú agus gur chóir dúinn smaoineamh ar rud éigin eile.
Mar a dúirt Uachtarán Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá: "Is féidir linn" agus sa chás seo is léir gur féidir linn agus tá an deis againn é seo a dhéanamh anois in ainneoin gur le Comhlacht Hammerson a lán den tsráid seo. Tá an deis ag an Stát seasamh isteach agus a rá le Hammerson go bhfuilimid sásta talamh nó foirgneamh a bhabhtáil leis agus gur féidir leis más mian leis, de réir na rialacha pleanála i Sráid Uí Chonaill, é sin a dhéanamh ach ar an gcuid seo de chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, an ceantar timpeall Sráid an Mhúraigh, go mbeidh an cheathrú chultúir seo i gceist leis.
We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Visions have been created by various groups over the period of the campaign, the latest being from the Moore Street preservation trust, which includes some beautiful illustrations of what could be. Through these visions and approaches to a street in the heart of a European city, we could allow history and day-to-day life live hand in hand with each other. We have an opportunity to ensure that the street thrives and young and old people alike - tourists, Dubliners and people from outside Dublin - can go there and learn about the events of the last two days of the Rising in the city of Dublin as well as about life for the ordinary working Dubliners who have lived and worked on that street for more than 150 years.
I commend the Bill to the House. I urge Deputies to consider its intent and not only pass Second Stage today, but ensure that the Bill comes out the other end of the legislative process as quickly as possible and we act upon it so that the dereliction of Moore Street comes to an end and life begins once again for those who are trading or have shops there and for the general public who have to walk through it daily.