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Text of Speech that I gave to the Minister’s consultative group at City Hall, Dublin in November 2016

A Dhaoine Uaisle agus a chairde,

tá cúpla nóiméad agam inniu le h-impí oraibh gan Sráid Uí Mhórdha a scriosadh. Tá sé náireach, amach is amach, go bhfuil muid fiú ag caint faoi seo inniu.

Fuair go leor daoine bás ar an sráid seo – laochra, a sheas in aghaidh Impireacht na Breataine; Laochra, a throid ar son ár saoirse;  Laochra, mo mhuintir ina measc - ach i 1916, chaith muintir na cathrach seile orthu.  They spat on them.  Agus fós, 100 bhlian níos déanaí, tá roinnt daoine fós ag iarraidh seile a chaitheamh orthu.

Cén fáth? Sin í an cheist. Cén fáth go bhfuil drogall orainn comóradh ceart a dhéanamh ar na laochra seo? Na mná agus na fir ar sheas an fhóid agus a throid ar son a gcearta, agus cearta muintir na hÉireann ar fad. Cén fáth nach bhfuil muid lán de Bhróid? Cén fáth go bhfuil muidne, gaolta 1916, fós ag troid le go n-athnófar an fís a bhí acu, agus an misneach a bhí acu.

...

"I thank the goodness and the grace that on my birth has smiled, and made me in this Christian age, a happy English child”. A chairde Gaeil, this was the prayer on the first page of a reader that was used in every National School in Ireland, before 1916.

This was the ideology, the ideology that was rejected by the men and women of 1916. We had our own Gaelic culture, our own language, our customs and our history but this was not what the British Empire wanted to hear. Indeed, they were intent on suppressing it.

I'm not going to give you a lecture on history here but I will say this. That our language and our customs and our history is still under threat, right now in 2016.  But we have a chance here to take steps to protect it. I think that the Moore Street Battlefield plan has some great ideas in it and I congratulate all those who were involved with it.

And I’ll say one more thing. My father, Piaras Mac Lochlainn was on the Kilmainham Gaol Restoration committee in 1966. That place was derelict when they decided to restore it. They were all voluntary workers. They decided to restore it, as someone said: “to honour our glorious dead”.

That jail is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. And the government at the time wanted to demolish it!  Have we learned nothing?

A shopping centre is no different to shopping centres the world over.  But Moore Street is the heart of Dublin. Such a special place of culture and history and I’m asking you now: Don’t delete it from the pages of history.

Shame on anyone who would even consider destroying it.  

Go raibh maith agaibh.

 

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