RORY Gallagher, boxing legend Jack McAuliffe and trade unionist Mother Jones are among the Cork people whose names will be considered for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Merchant’s Quay and Patrick’s Quay.
While 25 nominations have been made so far, Cork City Council is remaining tight-lipped on further names and ideas that have been submitted with strict criteria applied which rules out any person who has been alive in the last 20 years.
A submission on blues guitarist Gallagher has already been made by a group of fans, while all three Cork Boxing Associations have requested that the new City Centre bridge be named after McAuliffe, Leeside’s first world boxing champion.
Born in Cork city, he emigrated to the US with his family as a child and went on to become the undefeated World Lightweight champion from 1886 to 1893.
Now, the people behind the hugely successful Spirit of Mother Jones Festival have thrown their hat in the ring.
James Nolan, the spokesperson for the Cork Mother Jones Committee, said Cork-born Mary Harris who became a famous trade union leader in the United States and became known as ‘Mother Jones’ would be an apt name for the bridge with her northside connections.
“She was born on Cork’s northside, lived through the Great Famine and emigrated like so many more from the nearby quays to the New World. She overcame personal adversity and tragedy to go on to become the most famous and dangerous woman in America by sheer force of character and her bravery.
“Her contribution to the American labour movement and the fight for social justice was huge.
“Her resilience is a testament to her Cork rebel spirit and determination which is celebrated internationally and although Cork is known as the ‘rebel city’ around the world it has little or no infrastructure named after an internationally renowned rebel daughter such as Mother Jones. This would provide the opportunity to rectify that serious omission, remember a Cork hero and celebrate our Irish diaspora in a practical way,” he added.
Significant events in Cork’s history are also being considered but existing plaques, monuments and buildings already commemorating such an event will be taken into account when the final decision is made.
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 the Southern Regional Assembly Construction has already started and assembly will begin in the Lower Harbour in January. 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.