Cork's newest bridge to be named after Mary Elmes

Cork's newest bridge to be named after Mary Elmes

The Mary Elmes Bridge will link Merchant's Quay to Patrick's Quay.

The Ballintemple-born Irish aid worker saved the lives of 200 Jewish children during the Holocaust by taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the nazi regime

She left behind a promising academic career to volunteer in conflicts in Europe. During the Spanish Civil War, she set up and ran children’s hospitals. When it was no longer safe to stay, she followed the Spanish refugees over the border into France and became involved in humanitarian work during World War II. She helped refugees and later risked her life to save Jewish children from deportation. She died in 2002.

The other names on the shortlist were Cork-born US labour rights organiser Mary Harris, better known as Mother Jones; Irish Red Cross advocate Leslie Price de Barra; and ballet dancer and teacher Joan Denise Moriarty.

The sole male on the shortlist is Civil War hero Donnchadh de Barra, who died on hunger strike in 1923.

Cork City Council received 92 submissions from the public on the name of the new pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Thirty-five names were proposed from those submissions with the shortlist announced last month.

Councillors whittled the shortlist of five down to two after an initial vote. A second vote saw the name of Elmes emerge as the most supported.

Councillor John Sheehan (FF) praised the process that led to the historic naming and supported the naming of the bridge after a woman.

“This has been a very positive process in terms of public engagement. The five names are very impressive and all have their merits. Only one bridge is named after a female. We need to rectify that imbalance."

Mick Nugent (SF) added: This is significant occasion for the Council. The four names that are unsuccessful, we should look at other areas which can be named after them.

Ken O’Flynn (FF) said the process had captured the public imagination.

“The amount of people that took interest in this is phenomenal,” he said.

Cork City Council believes the new bridge will provide improved pedestrian and cycle connectivity, with particular benefits for travelling to MacCurtain Street and the city centre. City Hall officials have said the bridge will cut journey times for 11,000 pedestrians and cyclists daily by an average of 1.8 minutes.

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 lifted 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.

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