Left Archive: Wood Quay Documents 1 July 18, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
To download the above and other documents please click on the following links.
Many thanks to the family of Leo Swan for forwarding these documents to the Left Archive. Over the Summer we will post up further related documents.
The Wood Quay protests of 1978 and 1979 were not explicitly left-wing, however in the materials used to promote the protests and occupation there was an appeal to trade unionists and others. Individuals later prominent in the Labour Party and other groups were involved.
The root of the dispute was the discovery of a Viking settlement site and part of the medieval city walls on the River Liffey on land owned by Dublin Corporation in front of Christ Church Cathedral. A decision was taken to locate the Corporations new offices on this site.
Between 1974 and 1981 a series of archaeological excavations were conducted there. On foot of them a campaign to reverse the decision to site the offices there was initiated. In September 1978 a protest march attracted 20,000 people. As noted here on RTÉ, the campaign sought to combat the development ‘on the streets and in the media, in the Courts and Council Chamber, and even on the site of Wood Quay itself’. Despite the protests and an occupation (dubbed Operation Sitric) of the site, however, the new Civic Offices were eventually built. The winning design by Sam Stephenson for the Offices was never completed in full. It was later amended by the addition of a new building which part masked the Stephenson design.
One feature of the protests which is of particular interest is the targeting by the campaign of candidates for local elections – including city councillors. Included in the documents today are background documents on the site from An Taisce and Friends of Medieval Dublin. Also included is an editorial from Hibernia magazine from 1977 outlining some political aspects of the situation.
The next post in this series will include the electoral materials relating to the campaign amongst other documents.