Arts Minister Heather Humphreys heckled at Moore St ceremony

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys was drowned out by protesters as she spoke at a wreath-laying ceremony at Moore St outside the buildings where the 1916 Rising rebels spent their final hours before surrendering to the British forces.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys heckled at Moore St ceremony

As soon as she arrived at the scene, which has been at the centre of a prolonged battle by campaigners fighting for its preservation, she was faced with chanting branding her shameful and calling for her resignation.

The shouting and whistles also made inaudible the speeches of Commandant Padraic Kennedy, military archivist, and representatives of the 1916 Relatives Association.

Ms Humphreys was also loudly booed as she laid a wreath outside the terrace containing numbers 14-17, which are now in public ownership and under renovation as a historical monument.

The High Court found in favour of campaigners earlier this month, declaring a much wider area, taking in parts of the street between numbers 10-21 also to be a national monument.

However, members of the Save Moore Street From Demolition campaign claimed it was inappropriate that the minister — who opposed the case in court — was invited to perform the ceremonies on the day.

“It’s adding insult to injury asking Heather Humphreys to come here, not only to speak but to lay a wreath. She was the person who was quite happy to demolish Moore St. She fought it in the courts to demolish Moore St,” said spokeswoman Fiona Byrne.

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Ms Byrne rejected criticisms that the event had been spoiled for the 1916 relatives, saying passions had justifiably run high.

“There may have been another occasion when they could have let her lay a wreath but not today,” she said. “It’s an insult to all the people who fought for this country and to the people who have fought to save Moore St all these years.”

Ms Humphreys left the area without making comment but later released a statement in which she criticised the protesters.

“I was very disappointed for the relatives who had gathered for the wreath laying today in Moore St in honour of those who fought and died for this country,” she said.

“The protestors showed utter disrespect for those relatives and indeed to the two children who were laying a wreath. The ceremony today was designed to be a solemn and respectful. I find it very disappointing that a small group of protesters would seek to disrupt it in such a disrespectful way.”

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