Moore v Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr Justice Max Barrett
Judgment Date18 March 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] IEHC 150
Docket NumberRecord No. 2015/696/JR Record No. 2016/51/MCA Record No. 2015/387/MCA
Date18 March 2016

[2016] IEHC 150

THE HIGH COURT

Record No. 2015/696/JR

Record No. 2016/51/MCA

Record No. 2015/387/MCA

Between
Colm Moore
Applicant
and
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht
Respondent

and

Chartered Land Limited
Notice Party
Between
Colm Moore
Applicant
and
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht
First Named Respondent

and

Chartered Land Limited
Second Named Respondent
Between
Colm Moore
Applicant
and
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht
Respondent

Arts & Heritage — Buildings — National monument — 1916 Rising — Whether site a battlefield — S160, Planning and Development Act 2000

Facts: The 1916 rising had taken place in Dublin, and a portion of the Moore Street area had been declared a national monument, subject to protection from development. Plans for development in the area had been submitted. The applicant contended that a much wider area should have been declared a monument, and brought judicial review proceedings seeking several declarations to that effect.

Held by Mr Justice Barrett, that the application for review would be granted and a number of declarations issued. Mr Justice Barrett reviewed the course of events during the 1916 rising, and having considered the views of historians and the provisions of s 160 of the 2000 Act, was satisfied that the wider Moore Street area was a battlefield and subject to protection as a national monument. Declarations were also issued in respect of a vinyl banner already in place at the site.

Reporter: R.C.

Approved Judgment

JUDGMENT of Mr Justice Max Barrett delivered on 18 th March, 2016 .

PART 1
1916
Chapter 1
Nurse O'Farrell
A. 27 th April, 1916.
1

By Thursday afternoon it was clear that the GPO could no longer be held. On Pearse's orders, all but three members of Cumann na mBan left the building. The three members who remained were Winifred Carney (Connolly's secretary) and two nurses, Julia Grenan and Elizabeth O'Farrell. Between them this trio cared for the wounded and gently ushered the dying to their end. O'Farrell and Grenan, Dubliners both, had been friends since their schooldays with the Sisters of Mercy. Carney appears to have been a more recent acquaintance. A photo taken from around the time shows O'Farrell in a crumpled blouse, hair parted plainly across a high forehead, and with a composed look about her. She was to play a remarkable role in the events of the next 48 hours.

B. 28 th April, 1916.
2

At eight o'clock in the evening, the GPO was completely in flames, and the remaining Republicans were forced to quit the premises. Pearse was the last to leave, having done one final recce of the building to make sure that no-one was left behind. He joined the last of three units who ran out of a since-gone side-entrance to the GPO, and raced across Henry Street into Henry Place. O'Farrell and the other women were just ahead of Pearse. O'Farrell understood that the intention was to join up with other Republicans who were holding out further to the west, near the Four Courts. This was not to happen.

3

Henry Place is an “L-shaped” street. One limb of the “L” opens onto Henry Street. The other, longer limb runs between some buildings and opens onto Moore Street. About a third of the way down this second limb there is a junction into Moore Lane. Coming at it from the GPO, this junction is on the right. As the name perhaps suggests, Moore Lane runs to the rear of the buildings that front onto Moore Street. Turn left towards the end of the lane and you are on O'Rahilly Parade which also opens onto Moore Street. Continue on further up Moore Lane without turning left and you come out onto what is now Parnell Street.

4

When Pearse, O'Farrell and the others got to the junction with Moore Lane, they found the remainders of a partial barricade that an earlier contingent of Republicans had placed across the junction as a partial shelter from British troops who were positioned further up the Lane. The barricade appears to have been little more than a cart from a nearby stables. The British troops were able to fire over the cart and so the junction was still very dangerous to cross. The Republicans had to take their lives in their hands, run past the junction as quickly as they could and hope that they did not get struck by a British bullet.

5

As O'Farrell ran across the junction, she tripped and fell. In a second, a man — Sean McGarry — ran out of a house on the corner of Henry Place and Moore Street, swept O'Farrell up in his arms and ran into the house with her. For his part in the Rising, McGarry was later sentenced to eight years' penal servitude.

6

When O'Farrell entered the house — this was No. 10, Moore Street — she found several of the members of the Provisional Government there before her. The place was already well-barricaded and the wounded Connolly was lying on a stretcher in the middle of the ground-floor room. O'Farrell would later recall that she went over and asked Connolly how he was. ‘Bad’ he said. ‘The soldier who wounded me did a good day's work for the British Government,’ he added.

7

After a time other members of the Provisional Government arrived. Some mattresses were found and Connolly was placed onto one of them. In all, O'Farrell counted that there were 17 men wounded in the retreat from the GPO. She spent the night of the 28 th helping to nurse them. In the streets outside, the Republicans could hear the roar of burning buildings, machine guns playing on houses and, at intervals, what seemed to be hand grenades exploding. The air must have smelled of smoke and been tinged with excitement and apprehension.

C. 29 th April, 1916.
8

The morning of the 29 th, O'Farrell spent helping to cook breakfast for the other Republicans, many of whom had had worked hard through the night, smashing through the walls of the houses on Moore Street to create a line of passage, through the houses, from one end of the block to the other.

9

The outlines of the holes that the Republicans smashed through the walls are still visible today in the houses that have survived since 1916. The holes themselves have since been bricked up. They are a foot or two smaller than an average man's height. To move through the houses the rebels would have had to stoop at the same time that they skipped over any plaster left jutting up from the floor. One of the holes opens onto what is now a stairwell. It is not clear whether the stairwell was there in 1916 and so whether or not the Republicans would have had to leap across the gap to get to the far side of the stairwell. That they managed to burrow through the houses as they did in the course of one evening is a remarkable feat of industry: these were tough and determined individuals.

10

After breakfast, Connolly and the other wounded men were carried through the burrowed holes, with the rest of the able-bodied following after them. Connolly was put to bed in a back-room in No. 16, Moore Street. A council of war was then held in the room between various members of the Provisional Government, men whose names transcend the generations: Pearse, Plunkett, Clarke, Connolly and MacDermott. Today the back-room where this council took place is dusty and dilapidated. The ceiling is worn-through. There are traces of what looks like sky-blue wallpaper on one of the walls. Some people have scrawled their names on the paper. Plywood sheets thrown across the rafters of the parlour below make it possible to enter the room safely. And yet, for all the stark simplicity of the room – perhaps even because of it — it is a place that that resonates with history. To think that Connolly once lay wounded in the far corner, with other members of the Provisional Government, all of them signatories to the Proclamation, gathered around him for a council of war sends a chill down the spine. To think of what these great men did, to recall that all of the signatories were to die without knowing that their fight for our nation's independence was ultimately successful, makes this simple room a place of soaring inspiration for all who are children of the independent republic that has been their lasting bequest.

11

Lying on the floor of this small room, while the council of war proceeded, were three wounded Republicans and a badly-injured British soldier, a prisoner, who was lying on a bed to the side of the room. After a while, the three women — O'Farrell, Carney and Grenan – came into the room to attend to the wounded. The British soldier asked if Pearse would speak to him. According to a later account by O'Farrell, Pearse replied ‘Certainly’ to this request and came over. The soldier, perhaps embarrassed to be helped by the women, asked if Pearse would lift him a little in the bed. Pearse did this, the soldier putting his arm around Pearse's neck as the latter hoisted him into a more comfortable posture. Pearse then returned to Connolly's bedside and the council continued quietly.

12

Shortly afterwards, O'Farrell got orders to bring a message to the British forces at the junction between Moore Street and Parnell Street, the end furthest from Henry Street. This was a very dangerous task for O'Farrell to undertake. There were dead bodies lying in the street outside, and the British were firing at anything that moved. Presumably the hope was that in broad daylight, the British would be less likely to fire on a woman than on a man. But there was every chance that O'Farrell would step from the house into a quick death. MacDermott hung a white flag out of the window to alert the British to what was coming. Though No. mention of this is made in O'Farrell's later account of events, it is difficult to believe that some effort was not also made to shout up the street that she was coming out.

13

About 12.45p.m., O'Farrell stepped into Moore Street from the doorway of No. 15. Her heart must have been...

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4 cases
  • Moore v Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
    • Ireland
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