Review into controversial Easter Rising site completed

A review has been completed into the future of a prized Nama-backed development site in Dublin which the families of the rebels of the 1916 Rising are fighting to have protected.

Dublin City Council ordered the review after details of a controversial deal emerged in which it used its authority to buy the strategic site on O’Connell Street.

Parallel to this deal, it had struck a secret resale contract with the a private development company, Chartered Lands.

This gave the company claim to the land as soon as the compulsory purchase order was finalised.

The contract allowed Chartered Lands to pursue plans for a large tract of land at the back of the GPO, encompassing buildings in which plans for the Easter Rising were hatched.

Last October, council members clashed with its own officials regarding the local authority’s role in the deal.

This focused on the CPO, pursued to prise ownership of the demolished Carlton cinema site on O’Connell St from landowner Paul Clinton.

Under CPO rules, Mr Clinton was ordered to sell his stake at an undeveloped valuation.

This was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

The council was severely criticised for setting up a contract without the consent of elected councillors.

The full extent of the council’s plan emerged in a television documentary, Iniúchadh — Oidhreacht na Cásca, broadcast on TG4 in October.

In it, members of Dublin City Council said they felt threatened to support the council when legal issues emerged about the deal.

A review of the planning status of the site, headed by councillor Nial Ring, was ordered in the aftermath of the documentary.

The council confirmed the review has been finalised and will be presented to its members at a meeting on April 8.

The handling of the overall site has implications for the campaign to preserve an historic site on Moore St, which was used during the Easter Rising of 1916.

It is also key to Chartered Land’s ambitions to develop a large tract of land behind the GPO.

Chartered Land founder Joe O’Reilly, who developed Dundrum Town Shopping Centre, is now one of the biggest borrowers in Nama. But Nama has agreed to fund the preparation of plans to pursue the redevelopment of the site.

To coincide with the Easter Rising commemorations the TG4 documentary that triggered the inquiry will be rebroadcast tonight.

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