MacSwiney legacy felt ‘far beyond’ Ireland as new bust revealed in Cork museum

Speaking at the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum in Kilmurry, Co Cork, Michael McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, said Ireland was fully committed to assisting the Ukrainian people and had so far taken in 26,300 refugees.
MacSwiney legacy felt ‘far beyond’ Ireland as new bust revealed in Cork museum

Minister Michael McGrath, Mayor of Cork County Gillian Coughlan, and Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan with bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

TERENCE MacSwiney and the other leaders of Ireland’s revolutionary period would approve of our taking in refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a senior Cabinet minister has said.

Speaking at the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum in Kilmurry, Co Cork, Michael McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, said Ireland was fully committed to assisting the Ukrainian people and had so far taken in 26,300 refugees.

“This is fully consistent with the aspirations of the revolutionary leaders of a century ago; they would expect nothing less of us, of that I am certain,” Mr McGrath said.

The minister said Ireland had made great progress as an independent nation, with standards of living undergoing transformational changes in recent decades, and new Eurostat figures revealed that Ireland has the highest life expectancy in the EU.

None of those advances would have been possible without the ultimate sacrifice made by Terence MacSwiney and others of his generation, Mr McGrath said.

“Of course Ireland today has problems and challenges it must meet, and we need look no further than to the idealism and the values of Terence MacSwiney for guidance as to what we should do and how we should address those challenges,” he said.

“When we remember Terence MacSwiney and his comrades, nothing could be more disrespectful than to act as if they were just one part of an ongoing revolutionary chain. They deserve a special place in our history in their own right.”

At the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum Kilmurry: Aidan O'Sullivan, vice-chair of the Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association (KHAA), Joan O'Flynn, Dr John O'Mahony SC, John Fitzgerald, president KHAA, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, Mayor of County Cork, Aindrias Moynihan TD, Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael Creed TD, Mary O'Mahony, chair KHAA, Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, John Coll, sculptor, Michael O'Flynn, sponsor, and Deirdre Bourke, KHAA. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
At the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum Kilmurry: Aidan O'Sullivan, vice-chair of the Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association (KHAA), Joan O'Flynn, Dr John O'Mahony SC, John Fitzgerald, president KHAA, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, Mayor of County Cork, Aindrias Moynihan TD, Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael Creed TD, Mary O'Mahony, chair KHAA, Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, John Coll, sculptor, Michael O'Flynn, sponsor, and Deirdre Bourke, KHAA. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

The death of Cork lord mayor Terence MacSwiney in Brixton Prison on October 25, 1920, after 74 days of hunger strike, brought the Irish struggle for freedom to international attention.

The new sculpture of MacSwiney had originally been commissioned to coincide with the centenary of his death, but the unveiling was delayed twice because of the pandemic.

Independence Museum Kilmurry patron John O’Mahony SC said the decision had been taken to ask sculptor John Coll to create the bust and he praised Michael O’Flynn of the O’Flynn Group for sponsoring the sculpture.

 30th April 2022 Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, grandson of Terence MacSwiney, Michael O'Flynn, sponsor, John Coll, sculptor, and Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, at the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum Kilmurry. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
30th April 2022 Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, grandson of Terence MacSwiney, Michael O'Flynn, sponsor, John Coll, sculptor, and Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, at the unveiling of a bust of Terence MacSwiney at the Independence Museum Kilmurry. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

He added that he was delighted to welcome Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, grandson of Terence MacSwiney, to the unveiling.

“I am profoundly moved and very happy with the work John Coll has done and I have no doubt that this work will endure,” Dr O’Mahony said, adding that Terence MacSwiney’s legacy had influenced events far beyond Ireland’s shores, inspiring leaders such as Gandhi and Mandela in their own struggles.

“Nobody has done as much for freedom in the free world,” Dr O’Mahony said.

  • The Independence Museum Kilmurry is open from 2pm-5pm, Thursday to Sunday. For information, got to kilmurrymuseum.ie.

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