I seem to have written a piece about Moore Street in Dublin every four to six months or so, since my last visit there. As the (de)construction looms ever closer, it has happened a bit more frequently. The protection of Moore Street is one of my favorite Irish causes, and I spend a good deal of time reading through mind-numbing transcripts and watching videos and news from afar as the government tries to weasel a new mall or hotel into what should be a sacred and protected space.
This situation has come to a head in the last week or so. I have been watching the brave men and women occupy the buildings of Moore Street in order to save them and circulating any news I can from them. As a one-time member of the Occupy protests here in the United States, I know first hand how cold and miserable it can be to spend winter nights in protest, and how skewed the media can be about the protesters and their cause. Please don’t be fooled by the notion that these brave men and women are impeding restoration and growth in the neighborhood – they are not the problem. They are not all “Shinners” and their aim is not to trudge up the same old battles that many people (and the government in general) are trying to forget – it is to protect one of the last vestiges of Irish history and an important battleground from vanishing altogether.
So much of Dublin has vanished and been replaced. All over the city there are tiny plaques that commemorate what used to be there. I know that everything must change, but it’s heartbreaking. Destroying one of the few places that hasn’t already disappeared in the city is not the answer.
The government can’t have it both ways. They can’t spend millions to bring tourists to Ireland for the “Rising” while they demolish what remains of it. My walks through Moore Street were profound and sad, and I saw firsthand the city’s neglect of the area. It is run down and it is a street that needs change – but not the kind that removes its spirit, history, and grace. The English tried to destroy the area in 1916 and now the Irish government wants to finish the job a hundred years later. It’s unconscionable.
These protesters are fighting for the right kind of change. I only wish I was there to join them or that I could do more to help them from here and if you can, I urge you to do so. Protesters always need blankets, food, and water to get through their vigils. Donating even the smallest and easiest things can help immensely. Spend a night with them if they still need to be there – I know if they’re still fighting in six weeks, Moore Street will be my first stop. They have won a small reprieve. Please help them win more. There are many ways to do this and most are easy to do from wherever you are. Sign this petition. Vote in this poll. Follow this Facebook page for information and updates, and find the others too. Learn about the history of the area. Buy a Battlefield Bond. Write to the Irish government. And if you happen to be in Dublin, please help both physically and spiritually by supporting in court, at this rally on Wed. the 13th, and on the street for as long as it takes.