Events to mark the Burning of Cork next year will require significant State investment 

Events to mark the Burning of Cork next year will require significant State investment 
Crowds of onlookers throng Patrick Street on the day following the burning of Cork city centre by crown forces in December 1920.

CORK City Council has begun planning for next year’s centenary commemorations of the Burning of Cork but councillors say a large injection of Government funding will be needed to do the historical events justice.

December next year marks 100 years since the Burning of Cork when British soldiers and Black and Tans burned down several buildings in the city, including City Hall.

The centenary of the assassination of first republican Cork Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain and the death of his successor Terence MacSwiney while on hunger strike in a British prison also occur.

Cork City Hall in the aftermath of the burning of Cork city centre by forces of the crown. Cork City Councillors say the 100th anniversary events next year will require significant investment from the State.
Cork City Hall in the aftermath of the burning of Cork city centre by forces of the crown. Cork City Councillors say the 100th anniversary events next year will require significant investment from the State.

Current Lord Mayor John Sheehan has announced a steering committee of 13 councillors has been set up to develop a programme of events for 2020 and beyond.

“Over the next number of years, we will be commemorating events of huge significance close to Cork and both nationally and internationally.

“The history belongs to everyone and it’s a collective commemoration for the whole city."

He added the group will feed into bodies such as UCC, local community groups, civic organisations, museums, schools, local historical societies and will coordinate a number of celebrations and commemorations.

A programme of exhibitions, publications, permanent memorial and community-level events is envisaged.

It is understood the council has earmarked in the region of €100,000 of its own money for events. Discussions are ongoing with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and City Hall officials met with the Department earlier in the year in order to attain an appropriate level of funding.

However, councillors have warned that Cork should play a central role in the centenary programme after 1916 Easter Rising centenary events were focused on Dublin.

Terry Shannon (FF) said: “Funding will be very important, and we would expect that there will be significant funding brought to this to enable us to carry out the type of commemorations that have been outlined.

Thomas Gould (SF) claimed up to half a million Euro will be needed between council and Government funding.

“Our budget will be challenging, but this has to be recognised as a major event. At one of the finance meetings, a figure came out of €100,000 that we might have allocated to events. To me, that won’t be enough, I’d imagine it would cost €500,000 plus if we are going to do this properly.

Colm Kelleher (FF) described the council’s likely contribution as a “pittance”.

“We do need more than the €100,000 that’s in the kitty. It is a pittance compared to the national commemorations for 1916. We have to remember that we are commemorating 100 years since the people of Cork were burned out of their houses and homes.” 

Former Lord Mayor Mick Finn urged that if there is a national commemorative event, it should be held in Cork because of the significance of city in 1920.

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