LOCAL people in Cork’s Harbour Parishes are pulling together to raise funds for memorial benches to honour their parish priest, who lost his life in a road traffic accident last month.
On Tuesday, August 3, a road traffic accident in Monkstown claimed the lives of two men, one of whom was a beloved priest from the Harbour Parishes, Fr Con Cronin.
Since his passing, local people in Passage West, Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy have all rowed in, setting up a GoFundMe page and holding events to raise funds for the memorial benches.
“The towns of Passage West, Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy were all devastated when Fr Con died. He was our man, so to speak,” Passage West councillor Marcia D’Alton told The Echo.
Ms D’Alton said that the idea to fundraise for the memorial benches seemed to arise organically after Fr Con’s passing.
“It seemed the obvious thing to do and then it just got wings, so many people got involved,” she said. “The concept is to put a bench in each of the towns, Passage West, Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy in memory of Fr Con – something that will blend in with what is already there.
“The advice we’ve been given from those who knew Fr Con best is that he wouldn’t have liked to stand out – he wouldn’t have wanted a super glorious all singing all dancing bench!
“The plan is to fit a bench similar to what is there already with a little plaque to remember him.”
Those involved in the fundraising efforts also hope to raise sufficient funds for a memorial bench in Fr Con’s native Coomhola in West Cork.
Ms D’Alton said it has been heart-warming to see all of the various fundraising efforts over the past few weeks.
“We have different fundraising events happening. So for example, a lady from Ringaskiddy ran a coffee morning to raise funds.
“Part of Passage West Creates the craft shop, a lady who makes cards she made memorial cards and invited donations so people who wanted memorial cards could give anything they wanted or could afford so she has raised quite significant funds.
“There have been an awful lot of goodwill initiatives to help raise money.
“Everybody is pulling together and it feels really good.”
Ms D’Alton also highlighted a song, penned by Passage West girl Clodagh Quirke in memory of Fr Con.
“Clodagh sang it a number of times, at things like the vigil that was held in Fr Con’s honour on the day he died.
“She recorded that with some words from Fr Con speaking and she was distributing them for free through the Craft Shop and the post office but whatever donations were raised, Clodagh gave to Con’s mission in Nigeria.
“She has stopped producing them now because she’s back at college but that was such a beautiful thing to do.”
Those looking to contribute to the GoFundMe page for the memorial benches honouring Fr Con can do so by donating to the ‘Fr Con memorial benches’ page on www.gofundme.com.