Government to appeal Moore Street ruling

High Court’s granting of national monument status has ‘wide implications’, Minister says

The Government has decided to appeal the recent High Court ruling that a number of buildings on Dublin's Moore Street be classified as a national monument.

Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys said the decision to appeal was taken due to the wide implications of the judgment for planning and development nationally.

On Tuesday, the Minister pledged to establish a consultative group on Moore Street, as a means to make positive progress in relation to the future of the street.

She said in a statement that the decision was taken following advice from the Attorney General and consultation with a number of Government departments and agencies, including the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Department of Transport, the Department of the Environment and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.


She said these organisations had raised serious concerns about:

- The wider implications of the judgment, which extend beyond Moore Street;

- The potential for the judgment to set a precedent which could affect a wide range of vital infrastructure projects;

- The judgment’s impact on the planning and development code;

- The manner in which the judgment widens the scope of national monuments status in an unprecedented manner, and

- The impact of the judgment on the operation of the National Monuments Acts.

Ms Humphreys said: “I fully understand that Moore Street is a location that holds great importance for many people.

“However, this judgment has implications that extend far beyond Moore Street.

“The legal advice I have received, coupled with input from other Government departments, highlights the impact this judgment could have on infrastructure projects countrywide.”

Means to obstruct

She said that her department and other Government departments were very concerned that this judgment could be used as a means to obstruct or delay planning and development right across the country.

“The judgment extends the scope of national monument status, setting a precedent which could affect a wide range of vital infrastructure projects.

“I have considered whether it would be possible to appeal sections of the judgment, but that is not a viable legal option.

“If I did not appeal this judgment, I would be ignoring very strong advice from the Attorney General, the Departments of Environment and Transport, the OPW and Transport Infrastructure Ireland that an appeal is necessary in the interests of planning and development projects nationwide,” she said.

"There are a range of views in relation to what is the best way to proceed. In a bid to bring together all of these views and seek positive progress, I will be establishing a consultative group on Moore Street with an independent chair. This follows a suggestion from Fianna Fáil on the matter."

The group will include cross-party Oireachtas members and other relevant stakeholders.

High Court ruling

In line with a High Court ruling that a national monument may exist even if all tangible evidence or traces of the original monument have been substantially removed or destroyed, the court found that the following plots on Moore Street itself, in some cases the sites rather than the buildings or structures, are national monuments:

- Nos 11 and 12. The facades are in modern brick and post-date the Rising. No 12 is known to have been rebuilt in the 1970s.

- No 13, which has a new facade in modern brick. The interior is modern and nothing survives of the historic fabric. It is known to have been rebuilt in the 1960s.

- Nos 18 and 19, which are essentially post-1916 structures. No 19 was a vacant site as late as the 1930s.

- Nos 22 and 23, the facades and interiors of which all post-date 1916. The buildings are likely to date from the 1960s.

- Nos 24 and 25, which were entirely newly built in the 1990s.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times