COUNCILLORS in Cork are calling for the development of a coordinated strategy for the commemoration of the War of Independence in the city and county ahead of the centenary in 2020.
Elected members are keen to ensure that Cork City Council gets a fair share of national funding to commemorate the events of the War of Independence.
Suggestions included cleaning and improving existing plaques and memorials around the city centre, as well as coordinating a memorial trail with Cork County Council, which could include the ambush sites at Kilmichael, Kilbarry and Béal na Bláth.
Speaking at City Hall, Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin said that Cork needs to be the centre of the commemorations for the coming years.
“Dublin was the centre of everything for the 1916 centenary, and that is fine because that is where the events took place,” he said.
“But over the next four or five years, it is essential that we have a proper budget to mark this story. The War of Independence, the birth of a nation, is a Munster story. It is Cork and Tipperary and we need to mark that.”
Mr Martin called for the establishment of trails to link the most important sites in the city and county as part of an enhanced offering.
Tom O’Driscoll (Fianna Fáil) said that funds should also be used to enhance what Cork already has.
“Some of the plaques in the city are in very poor condition, for example,” he said.
“We need to work on these now and in 2019 ahead of the centenary events.”
Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said that establishing a fund now from city reserves would allow the coordination of efforts to begin early.
“It would put us in a good position when it came to asking for national funding,” he said.
“Last year, the chief executive suggested allocating funds from the sale of city stock to improve assets. Well, plaques are assets, so perhaps we should reconsider this. For us to be effective in marking these events, we need to have a budget in place.”
Fianna Fáil’s Tim Brosnan urged the city to look beyond the military elements of the era.
“This is also a story of cultural aspects,” he said.
“All we are reflecting on is blood and death. Let’s not stand over graves, let’s build something for the future that we can be proud of.”