FOUR famous Cork women are in the running to have the Harley Street bridge named after them.
Cork City Council received 92 submissions from a public invitation relating to the name of the new pedestrian and cycle bridge.
Thirty five names were proposed from those submissions and this has now been whittled down to five.
Cork-born US labour rights organiser Mary Harris – better known as Mother Jones; Irish aid worker Mary Elmes; Irish Red Cross advocate Leslie Price de Barra, ballet dancer and teacher Joan Denise Moriarty and Irish Volunteer during the Civil War Donnchadh de Barra – who died on hunger strike in 1923 – have made the final shortlist.
Councillors will whittle the names down to a top two and then this will be brought before the Council for a vote with the Lord Mayor having a casting vote.
Councillor Mick Nugent (SF) said: “They are very strong contenders. There had been a feeling that it should be woman. I’m glad we have a shortlist of names and they are all very worthy names.”
John Sheehan (FF) added: “The bridge will eventually be named after one person but the discussion is good for the city and shows the city’s rich heritage. We only have one bridge in the city named after a woman, the Nano Nagle bridge. We need to redress that balance.
Rory Gallagher, boxing legend Jack McAuliffe, Myrtle Allen and William O’Brien were names also considered for the bridge linking Merchant’s Quay and Patrick’s Quay.
Leslie Price de Barra was a courier of messages and ammunition between the GPO and other posts during the Easter Rising. After the conflict she went on to marry Tom Barry in 1921. In later years she was a main player in the establishment of the Irish Red Cross and served as its chairperson between 1950 and 1973.
Irish aid worker Mary Elmes saved the lives of 200 Jewish children during the Holocaust by taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the nazi regime.
Joan Denise Moriarty had a huge impact on ballet in Ireland and founded the Cork Ballet Company in 1947 and the Irish Theatre Ballet in 1959 – as well as a number of other artistic achievements.
Shandon-born Mary Harris, went on to become an influential union and community organiser in the United States in the 1800s and early 1900s. A festival marking her contribution to labour rights takes place in Shandon each year.
Irish Volunteer Donnchadh de Barra died on hunger strike in 1923 during the civil war and is buried alongside Terence MacSwiney and Tomás Mac Curtain at the Republican plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery.
Cork City Council believes the new bridge will provide improved pedestrian and cycle connectivity in general, with particular benefits for travelling to MacCurtain Street and the city centre. City Hall officials have said the bridge will cut journey times for pedestrians and cyclists by an average of 1.8 minutes per day.
It is being developed with financial assistance from the National Transport Authority and assembly is begin carried out in the Lower Harbour. The bridge will then be lifted in February and transported up the Lee on low tides to be able to fit it under existing bridges. The bridge will be put in place in April with an official opening scheduled for May.