Family of Tomás MacCurtain in City Hall to mark the birth of modern democracy in Cork

Family of Tomás MacCurtain in City Hall to mark the birth of modern democracy in Cork
Fionnuala MacCurtain, grand-daughter of Tomás MacCurtain, with her son Aron and her daughter Sarah looking at the bust of Tomás MacCurtain in a foyer at Cork City Hall prior to a special meeting of Cork City Council to commemorate the centenary of the election of Tomás MacCurtain as Lord Mayor of Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.

A SPECIAL commemorative meeting of Cork City Council took place tonight to honour 100 years of modern democratic politics in Cork.

Former Lord Mayors of Cork, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Oireachtas members, representatives of the Armed Forces, Naval Service and An Garda Siochána joined Government officials and representatives of family members elected to Cork Corporation 100 years ago at a commemorative special meeting in City Hall.

The event was to commemorate the election of Tomás MacCurtain as Lord Mayor of Cork, the Council’s pledge of allegiance to the Dáil Éireann, the extension of the right to vote to women ratepayers and the use of proportional representation in an election for the first time.

Tomás MacCurtain
Tomás MacCurtain

Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor John Sheehan said: “The 1920 local elections played a key transitional role in Irish revolutionary history and this commemorative meeting is a focal point of Cork City Council’s programme of events to mark this defining year”.

City Archivist, Brian Mc Gee presented the 1920 minutes book to the meeting.

Dr John Borgonovo from UCC’s School of History and Dr Fiona Buckley from UCC’s Department of Government and Politics spoke in the chamber.

Mr Borgonovo said: “The Republicans were a new force in Irish politics and its leaders had been largely unknown in the city prior to 1916.

“Their victory in the 1920 local elections was an expression of the public’s clear desire for Irish self-determination.

"The election in Cork was also connected to the rapid expansion of popular democracy in Ireland and in Europe in this period as seen by Cork Corporation’s 1920 election of its first female councillor and of an unprecedented number of labour and trade officials to the Chamber".

Representatives from Comhairle na nÓg, the trade union movement, the 50/50 group and from communities across the city participated in the meeting.

Sixteen members of the current council read extracts from the minutes of the meeting of Cork Corporation on January 30, 1920, and from local newspapers.

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