Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 20 January 2022

1134a. Mary MacSwiney (centre) entering the Treaty debate buildings at Dublin’s University Buildings, Earlsfort Terrace, late December 1921 (picture: Hogan collection, National Library of Ireland).
1134a. Mary MacSwiney (centre) entering the Treaty debate buildings at Dublin’s University Buildings, Earlsfort Terrace, late December 1921 (picture: Hogan collection, National Library of Ireland).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 20 January 2022

Journeys to a Free State: Mary MacSwiney Speaks

Last week’s column highlighted the Treaty vote that was taken and the intervention of Cork TD Mary MacSwiney expressing her disappointment and full support for the ideals of Éamon de Valera. Mary MacSwiney was one of the earliest speakers to take the floor on the Treaty debate. She intervened just after the vote on 7 January and remained vocally against the Treaty for years to come. She first took the floor on Wednesday 21 December 1921. A transcript of her passionate, very detailed, well thought out, articulate and highly frank intervention comes to over 15,500 words. She spoke at length for two hours and forty minutes. The full speech can be viewed under Treaty debates at Oireachtas.ie.

Mary’s speech expressing her opinions varied across a range of topics, from noting the Treaty was just like creating a renewed Act of Union to not trusting the Westminster administration, to the Treaty being a betrayal of the principles of Irish Republicanism, to being highly critical of the oath and the role of the Governor General. A case can be made that her speech galvanised the more die-hard Republican side of Dáil Éireann in voting against the Treaty. Certainly, the points she makes are almost like a manifesto for the Republican cause. Her points were raised by others against the Treaty – not in the same level of detail – as the Treaty debate evolved and concluded in early January 1921.

Mary opened her speech by commenting on the idea that the ratification of the Treaty document would create a quasi-Grattan’s Parliament or a Home Rule situation, something that would not represent everyone from north to south and was not total freedom. She argued that such a parliament was not a parliament of the people. She noted: “Grattan’s Parliament was a Parliament representing, or supposed to be representing, only one-fifth of the people of Ireland, and even then, by means of undemocratic elections. It did not faithfully represent even 20 per cent of the Irish people”.

A second core point made by Mary was that in her opinion those in the Dáil chamber were there on the will of the people expressed in a vote in December 1918 – that the assembly was elected on a Republican cause. She noted: “Therefore, this assembly is not, as has been already pointed out, competent to deal with the matter at all. We are not the Members elected to sit in the Parliament of Southern Ireland. We are the Members elected to sit in the assembly of the Irish Republic”.

At times in Mary’s speech, it could be argued that she crossed the line in calling Deputies and the Westminster government out. On Prime Minster Lloyd George, she articulates that he cannot be trusted. She notes: “As far as we in Ireland are concerned, the office which he holds never has been an honourable office, but in his own country it is supposed to be so. And never has a more unscrupulous scoundrel sat in the seats of the mighty than Lloyd George. There is no Government in Europe that trusts his word”.

On the First World War, she regretted that Irish citizens took a part in it and noted that Ireland was led to approve the war. She notes: “The country was stampeded into approval of the war. I was in England when the war broke out. I could not tell you the anguish of souls I experienced when I came home and walked down the streets of Dublin and of Cork and saw the friends of my lifetime sporting the Union Jack…we were not British by the act of our own people. Even then we had not declared common citizenship, with fidelity to the King of England”.

Following her thoughts on the First World War, she noted that the 1916 Easter Rising stood out in the annals of the world. She noted: “A small minority of the people of Ireland realised that they had to strike, and strike at once, that if they waited for the war to be over England would have her countless legions turned against us. They decided on rising; that rising was largely rendered futile by the acts of people at the last moment who tried to stop it. Yet the battle was fought, and Easter Week, 1916, stands out in the annals of the world”.

On the Articles of Agreement/ Treay, Mary argues that the document will not create peace and that unity alone can bring peace. She notes: “The men with the stake in the country know perfectly well that as long as we Republicans stand out and say this is not peace, and it will not make peace, there will be no peace, and the men with the stake in the country will know perfectly well that unity alone can defeat this awful breach now”.

Mary was also critical of the idea that the Irish delegation to the Treaty negotiations were unable to put in amendments – that the threat of war hung over the proceedings; She expressed the viewpoint: “It is the sympathy of the world and the judgment and conscience of the world that brought England to her knees in these negotiations. She has the military. I know that, but she cannot win this battle, for if she exterminates the men, the women will take their places, and, if she exterminates the women, the children are rising fast…Therefore our fight to-day has a chance of victory. You have told us it is between the acceptance of that document and war. If it were, with every sense of deep responsibility, I say then let us take war”.

Mary touched upon a range of other topics also but ultimately concluded her speech with an appeal for the Treaty to be rejected: “I pray that we will stand together, and the country will stand behind us. I have no doubt of that. I know the women of Ireland, and I know what they will say to the men that want to surrender, and therefore I beg of you to take the decision to throw out that Treaty. Register your votes against it, and do not commit the one unforgivable crime that has ever been committed by the representatives of the people of Ireland”.

Cork TD Mary MacSwiney’s full speech can be read at www.oireachtas.ie/en/debate/dail/1921-12-21/2/

Missed one of the 51 columns in 2021, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie

Caption:

1134a. Mary MacSwiney (centre) entering the Treaty debate buildings at Dublin’s University Buildings, Earlsfort Terrace, late December 1921 (picture: Hogan collection, National Library of Ireland).

Cllr McCarthy, Ward Funds 2022

Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2022 ward funding to apply for his funds.


A total of E.11,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Cork City Council ward funds. In general, contributions to groups range between e.150 to e.250 or slightly more depending on the project. Application should be made via email to Kieran at kieran_mccarthy@corkcity.ie or via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) by Friday 4 February 2022. This email or correspondence should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for.


Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old. Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event that benefits the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.


Cllr McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as those that promote the rich history and environment within the south east ward. More guidelines can be viewed under ward funds at his blog at www.kieranmcarthy.ie.

Kieran’s Submission, Odlum’s & R & H Hall Development, January 2022

Director of Planning,

Planning and Development Directorate,
Cork City Council, City Hall,
Cork.

6 January 2022

Re: Planning Application at Odlum’s & R & H Hall, South Docks, 21/40702

http://planning.corkcity.ie/AppFileRefDetails/2140702/0

Dear Director,

I write to comment on the proposed development project at Odlums and at R & H Hall. In general, I welcome the strong financial investment into South Docks. For me, Odlums and R & H Hall are core structures, which anchor the docks area in a strong sense of place. Much of the area has seen demolition over the years leaving the latter two structures and the historic Ford compound being left as core historic structures on South Docks.

I wish to thank the developers of the proposed Odlums and R & H Hall site for their extensive history and environmental studies, that have been submitted with their proposal. I note that the Odlums buildings is to be restored and utilised, and that is to be encouraged and welcomed.

 Looking through the engineering study on the grain silos, I note and respect how the silos were constructed and acknowledge the weakness of the concrete and their many limitations for re-use. However, such is the striking nature of the silos on South Docks, I am still very disappointed that they, if planning is sanctioned, will be taken down, which ultimately will change the sense of place not just in that locale but across South Docks. And it is the change in the sense of place that is irking me.

In that light I would ask that if any part of these industrial ruins of the silos can be utilised or recycled or if any old industrial equipment is salvageable that it be used within any new building and as some kind of sculptural/infrastructure installation/s on the quayside. I would love if the design of the proposed “Silo” buildings – would reflect as much of the R & H Hall buildings as possible. I would like to advocate that the City Council’s Archaeologist and Heritage Officer, respectively, would work with the developer on keeping as much of the historic sense of place as possible.

Sincerely,

_________________

Cllr Kieran McCarthy

R & H Hall Grain Silos, Cork South Docks, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
R & H Hall Grain Silos, Cork South Docks, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 13 January 2022

1133a. Picture from the Treaty debate, Dublin, early January 1922 (picture: National Library of Ireland).
1133a. Picture from the Treaty debate, Dublin, early January 1922 (picture: National Library of Ireland).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 13 January 2022

Journeys to a Free State: A Treaty is Ratified

At ten minutes to 9pm on Saturday night, 7 January 1922, Dáil Éireann voted on the Articles of Agreement or peace treaty. It was ratified by 64 votes to 57. The division followed days of animated debate with the closing speakers being Cathal Brugha and Arthur Griffith. A total of 121 TDs out of 129 deputies recorded their votes. Out of the eight whose vote was not recorded five held dual representation to seats. One was the speaker, Eoin MacNeill who did not vote as his role would have been in a casting vote position. Just two deputies were technically unable to be present – one had expressed an opposing view on the Treaty and the other was in support – in their correspondence respectively.

The Cork Examiner records that each deputy of TD was allocated one vote. Some surprises arose during the polling, and it was evident that some deputies maintained secrecy as to how they would vote until they actually cast their vote vocally. When the decision of the assembly had been announced, the atmosphere again became electric, especially when President de Valera rose in his place, and made a speech, indicating that because of the verdict he would resign his office as Chief of the Executive of Dáil Éireann. He, however, had only concluded, when Michael Collins rose, and appealed for unity.

Cork’s Mary MacSwiney followed and in a short speech pointed out that they “could not unite the ideal of a Republic and a betrayal worse than Castlereagh’s [a reference to Viscount Castlereagh in LondonDerry]”. Her incisive comments again electrified the atmosphere. Mary had also given a long and passionate intervention against the Treaty in the days before the vote. De Valera again rose and announced that he would hold a meeting of his supporters on the following day at Dublin’s Mansion House. Another appeal for unity was made by Michael Collins as the assembly anxiously awaited the outcome of such interchanges.

The Cork Examiner records that De Valera again arose and in a very subdued voice said; “Before we rise I should like to say my last word” – but he only added one more sentence when he broke down, and resuming his seats placed his head between his hands resting on the table at which he thought for a moment. that for a moment it was the most intense scene, and it was only ended by the speaker’s announcement that the house would be adjourned until the subsequent Monday morning.

At that stage the Lord Mayor of Dublin Laurence O’Neil approached De Valera, took him by the arm and escorted him from the chamber. Deputies also departed and were followed by the public, with the result that the entire chamber was soon completely deserted. Along the corridors of the building many people, who were unable to gain admission to the chamber had congregated, while outside the university there was an immense gathering – each assemblage being most anxious to learn the decision of Dáil Éireann’s ratification question.

Outside the bulk of the public present appeared to approve of the action had been taken. Arthur Griffith was one of the first leaders is to leave in company with several of his supporters. He was the recipient of a great ovation especially when he made his appearance outside the main entrance to the vote venue at Dublin’s University Buildings, Earlsfort Terrace.

 Shortly afterwards De Valera took his departure and cheers were called for him. Similarly, cheers were extended to Michael Collins, who had great difficulty moving through the crowds to get to his motor car. No interviews were given to the press by De Valera or Collins at that point.

An interview was, however, given by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Donal Óg O’Callaghan. The Cork Examiner records that the Lord Mayor commented on the need to revisit the vote in the weeks ahead and made a call out for the public to remain calm: “Now that the decision has been given, there has been a terrible strain upon all participating in this debate. The forces at work were very strong. Personally, I deplore the decision. I think a great mistake has been made but I have the most profound confidence in my fellow country men and women, and I am satisfied that they desire absolute freedom now as fervently as ever – so for the moment they may desire the ratification of this treaty, owing to obvious circumstances and warweariness, and so on. That they never will be satisfied until what has been temporally undone tonight will be again established. I am firmly convinced that the aspiration of the Irish people will never be satisfied until the Irish Republic functions are recognised and unfettered.

Concluding the Lord Mayor offered some words of warning about maintaining discipline to the cause of the Irish Republic; “I hope the people of the country, and especially my fellow citizens in Cork will not allow the splendid discipline which has been our mainstay up to the present, and which alone enabled us to succeed as far as he did succeed, will continue on unimpaired, and that no acts, even of an isolated character will occur that might prove the starting point of a departure from this discipline which once lost could be regained only after much difficulty and after much loss. That discipline is no more than ever necessary if our country is not to be thrown into chaos”.

Back in Cork on Cork’s St Patrick’s Street the feeling of tension gradually increased as the evening wore on. From 7pm on large crowds of people congregated outside the Cork Examiner office waiting for the result of the vote.

The momentous news did not reach Cork till after 9pm, and its publication in a special extra edition of the Evening Echo gave rise to those waiting patiently for news on St Patrick’s Street. Within theatres and picture houses the news was relayed. At a packed Cork Opera House, comedians Iky and Will Scott, whilst performing during their introductory dialogue at their pantomime noted that “there was good news for Ireland”. Both shook hands on the stage. After announcing the ratification majority there was sustained and loud applause. Enthusiastic scenes were also witnessed at the Palace Theatre and at the picture houses, where the news had also been telephoned, and was promptly screened.

Missed one of the 51 columns in 2021, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie

Caption:

1133a. Picture from the Treaty debate, Dublin, early January 1922 (picture: National Library of Ireland).

Press, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value, 10 January 2022

10 January 2022, “It is important to acknowledge how far the site has come – from the the old landfill site to what is now Tramore Valley Park and ultimately an investment by Cork City Council with financial partners of over e.40m at this stage. Phase two such as a pedestrian bridge crossing from Grange, is another important addition that is scheduled to come to fruition this year, and this will connect to communities in the heart of Grange and all the way back into Donnybrook”, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value (echolive.ie)

Press, Cllr McCarthy, Call for dereliction ‘red tape’ to be addressed ahead of introduction of new grant, 9 January 2022

9 January 2022, “Mr McCarthy said anything that helps tackle the issue of dereliction is welcome and a step in the right direction, but the ‘red tape’ issue of tackling dereliction needed to be addressed. “Dereliction is a deep rooted problem, and it will take a lot of effort [to] pull up those roots and I would plead with the Minister to work with Cork City Council [on the issue]”, Call for dereliction ‘red tape’ to be addressed ahead of introduction of new grant, Call for dereliction ‘red tape’ to be addressed ahead of introduction of new grant 

Cllr McCarthy: Huge Added Value for Half Moon Lane Access to Tramore Valley Park, 8 January 2022

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the recent opening of the Half-Moon Lane gate to Tramore Valley Park and has noted it as another very important addition to the story of the Park.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The public consultation of 2021 was important to do and to formulate appropriate solutions to the expressed concerns. It was a long journey to get through the consultation, but it was important to spend the time in gauging and responding to different local perspectives. I think there is big added value to the new pedestrian and cycling access point, but timely at present to remind users that there is no car-parking at the location.  The new entrance point ensures that the park is physically connected to the heart of the southern suburbs especially to communities on South Douglas Road, Cross Douglas Road areas and well into the areas of Douglas Road and Ballinlough. Indeed, when one counts the public parks in the south east side of the city, there are now at least 15 key neighbourhood parks and walks”.

“It is important to acknowledge how far the site has come – from the the old landfill site to what is now Tramore Valley Park and ultimately an investment by Cork City Council with financial partners of over e.40m at this stage. Phase two such as a pedestrian bridge crossing from Grange, is another important addition that is scheduled to come to fruition this year, and this will connect to communities in the heart of Grange and all the way back into Donnybrook”.

“The feedback I get from locals is that during the last two years of Covid Tramore Valley Park has been a second home to many people and really helped manage people’s mental health. Great credit is due to the park wardens onsite who are always friendly, as are the recycling staff. I continue to advocate that Tramore Valley Park has etched itself a jewel in the growing necklace of parks in the city, which are highly significant to the mental and physical health of citizens, concluded Cllr McCarthy”.

Kieran’s Press, The Barrack Street Six – Dr Kieran McCarthy, 6-7 January 2022

LISTEN: “Skeletal remains were found under a former pub in Cork city. Dr Kieran McCarthy, historian and local councillor, spoke to Baz about the discovery and gave some context as to where the skeletons may have come from. Kieran has plenty of amazing resources on Cork on his website corkheritage.ie” The Barrack St Six – Dr Kieran McCarthy | The Ryan Tubridy Show – RTÉ Radio 1 (rte.ie)

or READ 6 January 2022, “The skeletal remains of six people found at the site of a former pub in Cork city in early October have all the makings of a “medieval mystery”, according to local historian, Kieran McCarthy”, Six skeletal remains found at site of former Cork pub ‘a medieval mystery’, by Olivia Kelleher, Six skeletal remains found at site of former Cork pub ‘a medieval mystery’ (irishtimes.com)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 6 January 2022

1132a. J J Walsh, 1918 (source: Cork City and County Archives).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 6 January 2022

Journeys to a Free State: The Dilemmas of the Treaty

Dáil Éireann resumed its Treaty debate on 3 February 1922 after a short New Year break. A large crowd had assembled at Dublin’s University Buildings, Earlsfort Terrace. A bitterly cold wind was experienced, accompanied at intervals by showers. Inside a range of speakers for and against the Treaty took the floor. On this day, two Cork TDs intervened – J J Walsh, an advocate for the Treaty, and Lord Mayor and TD Donal Óg O’Callaghan, who was an advocate against the Treaty. Both gave extensive and passionate speeches and the detail of these are digitised at www.oireachtas.ie.

On Deputy J J Walsh rising to take the floor, he spoke slowly and often spoke with his back to the reporters. He understood that they were there to express the voice of the people, and as he noted that they were there to represent the “consent of the country” – that they were there to speak about the majority will of the people.

Walsh noted thought he had made it his business to visit his constituents in the interval since they last met. The City of Cork, he believed, which had played an important part in the events of the previous four or five years, were in favour of the ratification of the treaty. He highlighted: “I have not though counted heads, have not taken a vote of the people; I would honestly say I feel that nine-tenths of the people of Cork City were in favour of the ratification”. Walsh continued that he had met prominent people in his constituency who had assured him that “they themselves had not met one single human being in Cork city opposed to the treaty”.

Walsh gave the opinion that those opposed to the Treaty need not necessarily take the oath if they did not want to. He had met several people who said that the Dáil had spent too much time discussing oaths and observed that “the Irish people were thoroughly fed up with this jujitsu exposition of oath ranting of that nature”.

Walsh felt that the public bodies of Ireland wished and desired the common good of the nation.  He gave the example of Cork Corporation at the municipal elections of 1920. The public only voted 50% for the Republican candidates – 29 out of 56 candidates. In his estimation, in January 1922 if there was a vote the people of Cork would vote for many more Republican candidates.

Proceeding, JJ Walsh, said that war knew no principle, as those who lived through the previous six years knew. He denoted that the Irish people would not consent to the “resumption of war by anyone standing on the bedrock of our Republic”.

He heard it remarked that the country would be drawn closer to England if the treaty was ratified. He remarked the opposite would happen; “If you got any vision, I see that Ireland will be drawn away from England by virtue of the fact that it would be drawn closer to the universe. Instead of being sheltered off by England, Ireland, by the opening up of its trade routes and inter communication, would come closer in touch with the world”.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Donal Óg O’Callaghan, also took the floor. He began speaking in Irish and then moved into English. He said that he was not going to appeal to any member of the Dáil to seek to influence the votes of any member of the Dáil. He was concerned only with his own views and vote. He resented what he described as “this series of lectures and appeals to which the hosts have been treated to by both sides”. He deplored the keen differences of opinion and disruption in the assembly and was distraught even more to the spirit in which it had been pursued. He took the view that every member of the Dáil was actuated by desire to do the best in the interest of Ireland, and in the pursuit of the idea of absolute Irish independence.

The Lord Mayor declared though he would be voting against the treaty. “I could not in conscience do anything else in regard to the result of that with regard to the people I represent”. He noted he had the honour for some time to represent the people of Cork in more than one capacity. He represented them as Lord Mayor, chairman of the County Council, and as one of the representatives in the Dáil. He felt that the people did not elect him to any of these positions because of any ability, real or supposed, or because of any statesmanship of his, or because of any political ability. He continued, “they elected me simply and solely because I believe in absolute freedom for Ireland, and because my views on the question are well known. If the people of Cork have since then changed their minds I did not”.

The Lord Mayor – in complete juxtaposition to J J Walsh – maintained the people of Ireland had not changed their minds, but if they have decided – a halt could be made on the treaty path they were now on and a move made onto another path towards, as he observed “the full measure of Irish freedom, entailing as it might still further war and suffering”. He wanted that his constituents – the people of Cork a right to decide. Therefore, he suggested, and he regretted it had not been suggested earlier – that the people of the country have the deciding voice on the treaty. He had no desire to record a vote if the people who had sent them there desired it cast up otherwise, but as he stated; “if a vote were taken I certainly, as an individual, could not cast my vote in any but one way. Then the electors may repudiate my action and recall a replacement. I would be perfectly content to avoid their decision”. He wished to be fair to the members in favour of the treaty – his views were the same as they were when he was elected to the Dáil.

Concluding the Lord Mayor said he regretted the strained feeling, which was visible in the Dáil, and hoped that – “if a vote were to be, and his suggestion for a plebiscite not taken – that the strange bitterness and strange feeling that had so suddenly risen in the Dáil would disappear and that they would all be in friendship once again”.

Happy New Year to all readers of this column.

Missed one of the 51 columns last year, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie

Captions:

1132a. J J Walsh, 1918 (source: Cork City and County Archives).

1132b. Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (source: Cork City Council).

1132b. Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (source: Cork City Council).