Bribery … Planning. Greasing of Palms. When will it ever cease in the Republic of Ireland.

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Sinn Féin TD alleges Moore Street development ‘bribe’ in Dáil chamber

15th September 2022

A Sinn Féin TD has called for an investigation into an alleged “bribe” being paid by a developer in relation to the historic Moore Street 1916 battlefield site.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh made his allegations during Dáil statements on controversies engulfing An Bord Pleanála – but was warned by the Ceann Comhairle to be careful in his remarks.

Mr Ó Snodaigh said he was referring to the Moore Street buildings which involved “the last stand of the soldiers of the Republic, the IRA” – even though the 1916 rebels were not known by that name at the time. Instead they were elements of the Irish volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, secretly controlled by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). They withdrew to Moore Street prior to surrender after the burning of the GPO.

  • He said that some people “may find that obscene that those presiding on (planning) applications often have skin in the game”.

Mr Ó Snodaigh then alleged “underhanded goings-on” in relation to the proposed Moore Street development, “in terms of the State, Department of Heritage officials and Dublin City Council officials lining up with the current owner of the site to offer a package for loss of earnings to the area’s street traders”.

The money – €1.7 million – was tied to three conditions, he said, “thus making it a bribe”.

He added: “The figure quoted is not disputed. The traders received three offers. The first was for €1 million, the second was for €1.5 million, and the third and final offer was €1.7 million.”

“How much value is put on the destruction of history?” he asked.

“The traders were told not to submit any planning objections to the planning application which was to be lodged late last year. That is a bribe, no two ways about it, because it is conditional. The supposed package was conditional on those actions. That is also a gross interference in the planning process. Thankfully the traders walked away in disgust.”

Mr Ó Snodaigh asked if the Housing Minister agreed “that officials from your department were colluding and were allowed to collude with a private developer, and the city council to interfere in this way with citizens concerned about their future.”

He suggested it was an illegal proposed arrangement.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said the deputy was “making some very serious allegations”.

Mr Ó Snodaigh said he had “not named anybody so far,” but was told: “Please be careful now.”

Mr Ó Snodaigh said he was being careful, noting that he had “repeated this outside this House in print as well”.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said he didn’t want to interrupt the TD, but “unfortunately, I don’t have the structural ability to respond to what you’ve said. It’s not a questions and answer session. You can put that on the record of the House, but I can’t respond here.”

The Ceann Comhairle said: “I’m more concerned for people who are not here who could be identified and who are entitled to their good name until proven guilty in a court of law, and this is not, most definitely, a court of law. So please just proceed carefully.”

Mr Ó Snodaigh said: “I think there needs to be an investigation of that, and I will send the minister himself a note.”

Mr Ó Snodaigh was supported by Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín, who said the demand of elected members to have No 10 to No 25 Moore Street listed for preservation had been ignored.

This failure showed “complete disrespect for our heritage and the cultural significance of the street,” he said, calling it “the birthplace of the Republic”.

Mr Tóibín added: “It was the battlefield to seek freedom and independence in this country – and now it seems to be a battle between the defenders of that heritage and large property developers.”

He added: “We know that there was a framework between Dublin City Council, the Department of Housing and the Hammerson company to compensate traders for the impact of their development on that site.

“Serious allegations have been made in Village magazine that offers of compensation were made to traders on condition that they would support Hammerson’s planning applications.

“I’m asking, Minister, that your department and the gardaí would investigate what happened.”

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