Proposal for three more statues to join Fr Mathew monument on Patrick's Street

Proposal for three more statues to join Fr Mathew monument on Patrick's Street
The Fr Mathew Statue Cork.Picture: Des Barry.

FATHER Mathew has stood alone on Patrick's Street since 1864 but he may get some company in the not too distant future.

The monument of the temperance reformer is the only large statue on Cork's main street, although a small statue of an Echo Boy also stands on the pavement.

Newly-elected Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan has now submitted a motion to Cork City Council seeking monuments of Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney ahead of the centenary of their deaths next year.

Terence MacSwiney
Terence MacSwiney

He is also seeking a statue of Michael Collins to be erected to mark the centenary of his death in 1922.

Mr O’Callaghan said: “The monuments and statues should be of a similar size and design as the monument and statue of Father Mathew, which is currently on Patrick Steet.” 

The matter is set to be discussed by party whips on September 30.

Both MacCurtain and MacSwiney died in 1920. 

Tomás MacCurtain and family in 1920
Tomás MacCurtain and family in 1920

MacCurtain, a former Lord Mayor of Cork and an officer in the IRA was shot dead on his 36th birthday in front of his wife and son.

A bust of him already exists outside City Hall. 

MacSwiney died in a Brixton prison after falling into a hunger-induced coma just months after taking over as Lord Mayor from his friend MacCurtain. A bust of him is also located at City Hall.

Michael Collins was killed in an ambush at Béal na Bláth in 1922 during the Civil War. Until 2002, no statue commemorating his contribution to patriotism existed in the country, until one was erected in his hometown of Clonakilty.

General Michael Collins
General Michael Collins

In addition to these, Mr O’Callaghan has also asked the council to erect a plaque to commemorate Josie Airey, whose landmark European Court case in 1979 forced the Government to introduce free legal aid in family law matters, has died.

"The plaque should include details of Josie Airey’s life, her long struggle for and eventual success in ensuring an affordable way of accessing a legal separation and her wider contribution to marital law reform and women’s rights," he said.

This will also be considered by party whips at City Hall.

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