Sides agree to pay own legal costs after Moore Street battlefield site case

By Ann O'Loughlin

An agreement has been reached over liability for the substantial legal costs of a failed action aimed at having buildings and sites on and around Dublin's Moore Street declared a 1916 Rising battlefield site comprising a national monument.

The Court of Appeal was told today the sides had agreed to pay their own legal costs and that certain costs orders granted by the High Court to Colm Moore, who took the case, should be set aside.

On the application of Michael McDowell SC, for the Minister for Arts & Heritage, and with the consent of Michael Collins SC, for Mr Moore, and Shane Murphy SC, for Dublin Central Limited Partnership, which bought some of the buildings and sites last year, the appeal court made orders to that effect.

The Court of Appeal last month granted the State’s appeal over a High Court declaration to that effect which was granted to Mr Moore, a nominee of the 1916 Relatives Association.

"Political and policy choice"

The three-judge court ruled the High Court had no jurisdiction under Section 2 of the National Monuments Act to declare the buildings and site are a "national" monument because that is ultimately a "political and policy choice", the three-judge court ruled.

Such choices must be determined by either executive or legislative powers which cannot appropriately be discharged by an unelected judiciary,it said.

The appeal court also set aside High Court orders restraining the demolition of buildings at Nos 13,18 and 19 Moore Street.

Orders restraining the Minister proceeding with the proposed development of a commemorative centre at Nos 14-17 Moore Street, where the 1916 leaders met for the final time and decided to surrender, were also set aside.

Those orders were discharged because the COA found, provided the Minister for Arts and Heritage has obtained appropriate consents under the National Monuments Act 1930 (the 1930 Act) for works on, or to a national monument, she does not need to get planning permission for such works.

The Court of Appeal allowed appeals by the Minister and Dublin Central Limited Partnership (DCLP) - which bought some of the buildings and lands last year from another company, Chartered Land - against findings of the High Court's Mr Justice Max Barrett in the proceedings by Mr Moore.

The Minister argued it was adequate to protect only the terrace intended to house a 1916 Rising Commemorative Centre.

After the Court of Appeal judgments, lawyers for the Minister had said she would be seeking legal costs against Mr Moore but today the appeal court heard there was agreement on costs issues.

"Positive and constructive dialogue"

In reacting to the judgment, the 1916 Relatives Association has said "positive and constructive dialogue" is the “first next step” and expressed hope the State and all the parties involved will engage to find “a common solution that can meet the needs and concerns of all the stakeholders and the Irish people”.

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