CONTROVERSIAL plans to relocate the Abbey Theatre to the GPO on O’Connell Street have been slammed as “ludicrous and crazy”.
Arts Minister Martin Cullen has said he plans to make a decision on the move soon and estimates that relocating the theatre for 2016 would cost in the region of €80 million to €90m.
This is far less than the expected cost of between €150m to €170m of moving to George’s Dock, which almost went ahead before problems arose.
Damien Cassidy of the National Conservation and Heritage Group said the GPO should be retained in its present role as it is a national monument which continued to be used every day by thousands of Irish people.
“The GPO is highly active to this day with thousands of people accessing it, on top of the fact that there are something in the region of 200 people employed there. The idea of destroying two national monuments like the Abbey and the GPO is ludicrous and crazy,” he said.
Mr Cassidy’s group intends to launch a campaign to stop the relocation and said the iconic building held equal importance to Leinster House.
“Minister Cullen is forgetting that it is a national monument and he is forgetting the folk that use it every day. This is an elitist group pushing this forward. We fought a battle to save 16 Moore Street [final headquarters of the leaders of the Rising] and succeeded. This is a new battle,” he said.
Mr Cullen has said: “I don’t want another museum there, open nine to five, then the whole bloody thing is dead. Think of the wider context of O’Connell Street and try to rejuvenate it.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved