Cork will be central to the 1920 centenary commemorations next year, which will begin with a special Cork City Council meeting on January 30, 2020.
The meeting will mark the centenary of the first Council elected by proportional representation and universal suffrage, as well as being the first Council with a Republican majority.
At that meeting almost 100 years ago, the Council selected Tomas Mac Curtain as Lord Mayor and pledged its allegiance to Dáil Éireann, a moment of huge national significance.
This commemorative event will take place at Council Chamber at City Hall, and will also be streamed live on the council’s website, with former Lord Mayors, TDs, Senators and elected members set to read excerpts from the minutes of the meeting.
A musical piece will open proceedings, and a reception will be held at City Hall that night with leading members of the city’s business, voluntary and community sector invited.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan said “The election of a Republican majority Council and Republican Lord Mayor changed everything, not just in Cork but nationally. It gave a democratic mandate to Tomás MacCurtain and later Terence MacSwiney so that their deaths later that year were a direct blow to the citizens and not just the deaths of activists in the armed struggle.
“2020 is a very important year for Cork. The Special Meeting in January will raise the curtain on a year of commemorative events in Cork City, marking the fundamental role played by Cork in the struggle for independence.” A wide-ranging programme of events is planned for 2020 which is roundly described as ‘Cork’s 1916’, so seismic was it in the second city’s history.
Over the course of next year, Cork City will commemorate the death of the city’s two martyred Lord Mayors, Terence MacSwiney and Tomas Mac Curtain and the Burning of Cork City.
The Burning of Cork by Crown Forces devastated the city in December 1920, destroying more than 40 business premises, 300 residential properties, Cork City Hall and Carnegie Library, hugely impacting the local economy.