Case against destruction of 1916 Rising leader’s home stalled
Dublin City Council is prosecuting developers for ‘unauthorised demolition’ of the former home of 1916 Rising leader Michael Joseph O’Rahilly.
It initiated court action over the levelling of 40 Herbert Park, once home to ‘The O’Rahilly’, the only 1916 leader killed in the fighting.
However, this action has stalled as a result of separate High Court proceedings.
Builders bulldozed the house in September last year to use the site for a 12-storey apartment and hotel development.
Derryroe Ltd, owned by the McSharry and Kennedy families, who own the Herbert Park Hotel, was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála for the demolition and redevelopment scheme
The council’s prosecution came before Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court on Tuesday.
Council solicitor Michael Quinlan said the case against Derryroe Ltd and the co-defendants was ‘unauthorised demolition’ of the house. However, it would be premature to deal with the matter as it was also before the High Court and for a judicial review, the District Court heard.
Judge Halpin adjourned the District Court prosecution until January. Residents opposed to the development claim the site had significant resonance in Irish history.
The house, built after the 1907 Exhibition, featured in the formation of the Irish Volunteers and the planning of the 1916 Easter Rising.
After its demolition in September 2020, local residents began fundraising for a judicial review.
The Pembroke Residents Association said at the time that it was ‘considering requesting a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission for a 12-storey building overlooking the playground and our beloved Herbert Park after the destruction of The O’Rahilly’s home at No 40’.
As they continued with fundraising, Pembroke Residents Association chairperson Siobhan Cuffe said the city councillors had voted that number 40 would be listed and preserved.
She said that the judicial review would focus on the environmental requirements of EU law, which Ms Cuffe claims were not applied.
Dublin City Council said at the time that it was investigating the circumstances surrounding the demolition.
A spokesperson for the council said: ‘Once the city council has ascertained the facts, it will take any appropriate action.’
Those two legal actions are now coming before the courts – the council prosecution and the judicial review.
Dublin City Council had voted to preserve the house, but the developer had torn down the property before the council could grant a preservation order.
At the time, the then Dublin Lord Mayor, Hazel Chu, said that a preservation order would override any objections from council officials who were in favour of the demolition.
The council voted in favour of the preservation order after An Bord Pleanála and Dublin City Council’s own planning official had approved the demolition of the house and the building of the apartment complex.
The replacement building would contain over 200 apartments as an extension to the Herbert Park Hotel.
The house and two neighbouring houses were built in 1907 for the Irish International Exhibition world’s fair.
Mr O’Rahilly, who remains widely known as ‘The O’Rahilly’, lived there from 1909, and his widow Nancy continued to live there until her death in 1961.
Derryroe Ltd has not yet replied to several requests for comment.