Public should have a say in naming new Cork bridge

Public should have a say in naming new Cork bridge
A computer-rendered image of how the planned Harley Street bridge might look.

SIGNIFICANT historical Cork women such as Mother Jones, Mary Elmes and Mary MacSwiney should be considered when naming the planned new pedestrian footbridge that will cross the river Lee at Merchant's Quay.

That's the view of Sinn Féin city councillor Mick Nugent who said the public should be invited to participate in the process of naming the bridge.

Design work is currently underway on the €3m bridge that will connect Merchant's Quay to Patrick's Quay at Harley Street, which runs alongside the Metropole Hotel.

The aim of the bridge is to create a better connection between Patrick's Quay, MacCurtain Street and Kent Station with the city centre.

Cllr Nugent has put forward a motion to tonight's meeting of Cork City Council that the Council would invite the public to participate in a process to name the proposed new bridge.

"The public should have a role in this, whether it is to decide on a panel of names or to suggest their own but bringing them into the process would give the public a greater sense of ownership of it," he said.

"I think we would all have our own suggestion of worthy individuals. When the bridge is likely to be complete in a few years time we will be in the middle of the centenary commemorations of the War of Independence so key figures such as Tomac MacCurtain or Terence MacSwiney might be suitable although they are commemorated in other parts of the city."

Cllr Nugent said there were also many worthy female figures worth naming the bridge after noting that the only bridge in Cork currently named after a woman is the Nano Nagle pedestrian bridge from the South Mall to Sullivan's Quay.

"Mary Harris or Mother Jones was born in Shandon but went on to became a key figure in the American Labour movement and fought for the rights of children," Cllr Nugent said.

Labour activist Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother Jones.
Labour activist Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother Jones.

"Mary Elmes saving hundreds of Jewish children during World War II, while Mary MacSwiney was a key figure during and after the War of Independence," he said.

These are just suggestions at this stage but what is important is that the people of Cork are involved in the process," he said.

Cllr Nugent's motion is expected to be referred to the Council's Corporate Policy Group for further debate.

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