Category Archives: National

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 14 May 2020

1048a. Placename plaque for Oliver Plunkett Street, present day but possibly dating to 1920

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 14 May 2020
Remembering 1920: The Naming of Oliver Plunkett Street

 

    At the meeting of Council of Cork Corporation on 14 May 1920, Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney presided. On the agenda was a discussion on the beatification of Oliver Plunkett headed up by Sinn Féin councillors. A number of decisions arose out of it. One of the principal ones was the proposal by Cllr Micheal O’Cuill that the name or George’s Street be changed to that of Sráid Olibhéir Phluingcéid (Oliver Plunkett street), and this was seconded by Cllr Seán O’Leary and passed unanimously. This change in name just came within a month of the change from (Robert) King Street to MacCurtain Street.

     Renaming streets was a very symbolic act and another mechanism to breaking bonds with the British Empire. George’s Street, was laid out from 1715 onwards and was named to celebrate the House of Hanover. Its side streets are named after different colonial historical figures. Such names promoted British imperial remembering structures within the city.

     Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681) was linked to martyrdom and suppression and was an idea candidate to commemorate within a street name. Oliver was born at Loughcrew, near Old Castle, Co. Meath in 1625. Up to the age of sixteen he was educated by Dr Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of St Mary’s Dublin. Subsequently he studied for the priesthood at the Irish College, Rome. He was ordained in 1654 and acted as agent in Rome for the Irish Bishops. In 1669 he was appointed to the Archbishopric of Armagh. In 1670 be returned to Ireland and established a Jesuit College in Drogheda in 1670. In 1679 he was arrested on a charge of high treason, which was supported by the evidence of witnesses who came forward to prove a Popish or Roman Catholic plot to kill England’s King Charles II. The King did not believe in the conspiracy and refused to get involved in the case of Oliver, and the law was allowed to take its course.

    Brought to Westminster before an all Protestant jury, during the first trial, Oliver disputed the right of the court to try him in England. He was found to have pursued no crime but was not released. During the second trial, he drew focus on the criminal background of some of the witnesses, but to no avail. Found guilty Oliver was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 1 July 1681, aged 55. He was the last Catholic martyr to die in England. His story of a miscarriage of justice was not forgotten about in and was harnessed in many subsequent debates from condemning the Penal Laws to calling for Catholic Emancipation in the early nineteenth century.

   Fast forward to 1920 nationally the story of the miscarriage of justice of Oliver Plunkett was connected to the war for Independence and in a Cork context to the murder of Tomás MacCurtain and his ongoing memorialisation. At the Cork Corporation Council meeting of 14 May 1920 this latter connection is seen through Sinn Féin’s Cllr Professor Alfred O’Rahilly, who proposed: “We, the Corporation of Cork, in Council assembled, hereby record the joy and satisfaction of the people of Ireland at the approaching Beatification of the Venerable Oliver Plunkett, the martyred Archbishop of Armagh, who 239 years ago, as the victim of a bogus plot, was seized and deported by the English Forces then in Ireland, and was legally murdered as a criminal and a traitor. We direct that this resolution be forwarded to the Cardinal Secretary of State, to his Eminence Cardinal Logue, to his Grace Dr Harty, Archbishop of Cashel, and to his Lordship Dr Cohalan, Bishop of Cork”.

   Lord Mayor MacSwiney proposed that a deputation of four be appointed to go to Rome on the occasion of the Beatification. The City Solicitor pointed out that the Corporation could not pay the expense of the deputation. The Lord Mayor expressed his understanding of the financial position. However, the resolution appointing the councillor deputation was passed, and the following were appointed – Lord Mayor, Professor Stockley, Messrs Donal O’Callaghan, and Simon Daly.

   The Lord Mayor further noted he understood that to proceed to Rome they needed passports. He tried to get passports direct from the Italian Government but could not. He also understood that he would have to the nearest police barrack – and in this case that would be King Street. This was not a journey he wished to make especially after the focus placed on it during the inquest of Tomás MacCurtain.

    Cllr O’Callaghan. speaking in Irish, suggested that the four members of the deputation proceed as far as they could go without passports. Alderman Edmund Coughlan seconded, and the suggestion was adopted. The passports though were not received by the proposed delegation nor did they travel some of the way to Rome.

   To mark the Beatification of Oliver Plunkett in Rome on 14 May 1920, Bishop Cohalan celebrated high mass at the North Cathedral where Lord Mayor MacSwiney and councillors were present. In all the churches of the city after Mass at noon the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the High Altar.

    Twenty-four hours previously, the Lord Mayor sent out a public call to citizens to illuminate their houses and display flags and bunting to commemorate the historic and holy event. On 14 May 1920 rows of houses in whole streets were all lit up. Statues and pictorial representations of the Sacred Heart were erected inside the windows and surrounded by vari-coloured lights, the Papal colours – gold and white – predominated. The Papal Flag was displayed from very many homes. The Sinn Féin flag flew over public buildings, such as the City Hall, the Markets, and was also hoisted over the Courthouse in Washington Street. The latter flag was put up in the morning by some young men with the aid of the fire escape outside the Court House. A demonstration was made in the evening by the members of the Irish Trades and General Workers Union whose hall at Camden Quay was beautifully decorated. Accompanied by the Connolly Memorial Fife and Drum Band, the Union members of well over one thousand left the hall and proceeded to Blackpool Bridge. Here a halt was made to pay tribute to the memory of the late Lord Mayor, Alderman Tomás MacCurtain. The band played outside his residence for some time. All of this happened as Black and Tans loomed more and more in making their presence felt.

Kieran’s new book Witness to Murder, The Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain is now available to purchase online (co-authored with John O’Mahony 2020, Irish Examiner/ www.examiner.ie).

Captions:

1048a. Placename plaque for Oliver Plunkett Street, present day but possibly dating to 1920 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1048b. Oliver Plunkett Street, May 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1048b. Oliver Plunkett Street, May 2020

Cllr McCarthy: Crucial Role for Local Enterprise Office in Times Ahead

    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the ‘one stop shop’ approach of the Cork City’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO), which is based in Cork City Hall and is linked to the work of Cork City Council. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Local Enterprise Office network is evolving and stands prepared to help businesses especially SMEs to address the critical challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. There are an array of financial and mentoring instruments to help SMEs during this very challenging time. Ninety-nine percent of businesses in Cork’s suburbs are SMEs and are crucial to their local communities they serve”.

   The COVID-19 Business Loan The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with the LEO, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty.  It is designed for micro-enterprises that are having difficulty accessing bank finance and are impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.

   The LEO Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

   The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost their sales and reach new markets.  The Scheme is administered by the LEOS’s on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. There is up to €2,500 available through the Local enterprise Offices, with co-funding of 10% from the business. Training and further business supports are also provided.

   Cllr McCarthy also recommends the free mentoring services for SMEs. “Clients work with an experienced mentor at the Local Enterprise Office to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities around COVID-19 challenges. The website www.localenterprise.ie/corkcity contains many links to the above financial supports and to mentoring and training. In terms of mentoring I also wish to point out the work online of the Cork Chamber of Commerce who are offering some really helpful webinars as well for businesses responding to the crisis”.

Coronavirus Roadmap for Re-Opening Society and Economy

 

Full PDF Document: Irish Government Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business 1st May 2020

The Roadmap is guided by a number of over-riding principles. That is, an approach which is:-

Safe –informed and guided by a public health assessment of risk.

Rational – includes consideration of the social and economic benefits and impacts of any modifications of restrictions and their feasibility.

Evidence-informed – uses all of the data and research available to us to guide thinking.

Fair – Ethical and respects human dignity, autonomy and supports equality.

Open and transparent – decisions are clear, well communicated and subject to the necessary checks and balances.

Whole of Society – based on the concept of solidarity and supporting cohesion as we exit over time.

Atlantic Pond, 1 May 2020

 

Cllr Kieran McCarthy: Community Response Phone Number of Great Help, 11 April 2020

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind people of the Community Response Forum phone number specifically to provide support to vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 restrictions.  The telephone number is 1800 222 226. Over its first week the forum received over 300 calls. The freephone helpline operates seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted: “The majority of calls to the helpline have related to the collection and delivery of groceries, prescriptions, fuel and other essential household items, and the delivery of meals.  Cork City Council staff, the HSE, An Garda Siochána and community organisations such as Meals on Wheels are amongst the partner groups who are responding to these requests for support”.

   Requests for support due to an increasing sense of social isolation have also figured in phonecalls received – with a number of people experiencing loneliness as they stay at home.  Those who have contacted the phone number have also been put in contact with Friendly Call Cork who provide a listening ear and a friendly voice on the phone to anyone experiencing loneliness.  Friendly Call Cork is set up to tackle loneliness among older people, those with physical and mental disabilities and those who are socially isolated. It has expanded its services to deal with Covid-19 and the Cork City Partnership team have brought on more volunteers to meet the increased demand.

   Cork City Community Response Forum Co-Ordinator,  Denis Barrett said: “Cork City has been broken into 16 local area teams with a Cork City Council community worker and HSE community worker in each area who will work with ‘local champions’ – the existing voluntary organisations and groups who know their locality and can help match need with service delivery”.

   Cllr McCarthy continued; “Corkonians have also contacted the helpline wondering how they could register to volunteer their service in this crisis.  Would-be volunteers are asked to contact Volunteer Cork on 021 4251572, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on info@volunteercork.ie.  They maintain a database of volunteers and are coordinating the volunteer effort in the city. Many thanks to everyone involved”.

   Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan said: “We are delighted to see that the people of Cork are using this helpline and we would encourage people, who maybe have never asked for help before, to not be afraid to pick up the phone. These are unprecedented times for us all  – but don’t forget we are all in this together and we will likely come out the other side with a deeper appreciation  of the important things in life – and that includes living in a city which is rich in community supports and community spirit”.

COVID -19 Community Response Forum, 31 March 2020

 
I have had a good number of Independent Older People with generally no family support contacting me looking for community supports – in terms of grocery or medicine collection.
 
I have contacted the invisible army of community supports in this corner of the city to have them looked after.
 
Many of those who have contacted me are cocooning and have never had to ask for help before, and thus potentially are not on the local community’s vulnerable radar list.
 
Many do not have the internet.
 
Many thanks to the many community groups working with local Gardaí, and individual local volunteers who are all doing trojan community work. There are many local shops as well doing a myriad of deliveries, whilst adhering to social distancing.
 
The new Cork City Council dedicated community support helpline will be running from 9-5pm seven days a week to help ensure that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels and can avail of social care supports, if needed.
 
Taking part in the Cork City Community Response Forum are Cork City Council, the HSE, GAA, Tusla, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Paul Colton, Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, the Age Friendly Network, Alone, Cork ETB, Migrant Forum, Citizens Information, the Cork City Volunteer Centre, the Red Cross, Civil Defence, An Post and the IFA amongst others.
 
There are 16 teams of people in different areas of the city.
There are two in the south east area.
The helpline is 1800-222-226. People on the other end of the phone are very approachable, and will co-ordinate with those on the other end of the phone – the most vulnerable in our community. Ringing on someone’s behalf Without telling them or not co-ordinating with them will frighten an older person when all of a sudden someone turns up on their door.
 
I remain available as well if people have questions on the proposed support system.
 
https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/news-room/latest-news/covid-19-community-response-forum-established.html

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 26 March 2020

1041a. Photo of Tomas MacCurtain Lying in State at Cork city Hall, 21 March 1920

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 26 March 2020
Remembering 1920: The Funeral of Tomás MacCurtain

     Within just a few hours of his death in the early hours of 20 March 1920, the coffin of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain was carried by hearse from his home in Blackpool to Cork City Hall. Heartrending scenes were witnessed. Men and women knelt down in the street and wept. Such was the intensity of the crowds that sections of Volunteers had considerable difficulty in managing the crowds and local traffic. The streets around Blackpool Bridge became absolutely impassable. Contingents of Sinn Féin members, members of trade and labour bodies, members of Cork Corporation and many more crammed into the area. A pipers’ band played the Dead March on the route to City Hall, and the procession of mourners, extending over two miles in length, included a large number of clergy and public men. The police were withdrawn, from the streets of the city.

     Everyone wore the tricolour draped in black, and all the window blinds in the city were drawn as a mark of respect. The 1st Battalion of the Cork Volunteers acted as bodyguard, and at City Hall a party of the men remained to watch over the coffin throughout the night. The business of Cork City Hall was suspended for the removal and the funeral the following day. The Republican Flag was at half-mast above the municipal civic emblem, and on the door of entrance hall appeared, a card bearing the inscription, “Closed in consequence of the murder of Tomás MacCurtain, first Republican Lord Mayor of Cork”.

    On 22 March 1920, the Celebrant of the Requiem High Mass at the North Cathedral was the Rev H J Burts CC, Rev R J O’Sullivan CC Deacon, Rev J Aherne, CC Sub-Deacon. Bishop Daniel Cohalan presided.

    Upon the coffin was a plate bearing an inscription in Gaelic, translated as “Thomas MacCurtain Commandant, 1st Brigade, Cork, Army of the Irish Republic and Lord Mayor of Cork, who was foully done to death by the servants of the foreigner on March 20, 1920, in the fourth year of the Irish Republic, at the age of 37 years. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL”.

    Addressing the congregation, Bishop Cohalan put no blame on anyone but shared his condolences with the family and condemned the murder. “Every murder, dear brethren, is a violation of the fifth commandment – the murder of the humblest and poorest member of the community as well as the murder of a head of a State…we have lost the Civic Head of the municipality by the murder of Lord Mayor MacCurtain. It was an awful crime – a most unusual crime is the murder of the Mayor of a city – it was a crime against the law of God and a crime against the city”.

    All national and regional Irish newspapers carried the story of the funeral. Many, such as the Cork Examiner, list the public bodies represented at the Church, which reflect the depth of respect for the Mayoralty of the city. Some of the those included the Chairman and members of the Queenstown Urban Council. Queenstown Trade and Labour and Sinn Féin organisations, Mallow Rural and Urban District Councils, Youghal, Clonakilty, Bandon and Skibbereen Councils, North-East Cork Executive Gaelic League, Southern Land Association, Cork Medical Association, and New Ross Urban Council.

    Labour bodies at the funeral were: The Transport Union, Typographical Association, National Union of Railwaymen, Ford Factory employees, Bakers’ Society, Tailors’ Society, and the Grocers’ Society. Other organisations in attendance were: The Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers, Irish National Foresters, Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Catholic Young Men’s Society, Commercial Travellers’ Federation, Cattle Traders’ ‘Association, and the All-for-Ireland Club. The processionists also included the staff and students of Cork Grammar School, boys from North Monastery. Sullivan’s quay, and Blarney street Schools, and the Fire Brigade. All Creeds were represented.

    The Rev Dr Dowse, Protestant Bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was represented by Rev. Dean Babington. Rev H Klein, Jewish minister and Officer of Residence, University College was also present, with Mr J T Klein, Secretary of Cork Hebrew Congregation. Mr William O’Brien, formerly leader of the All for Ireland Movement, and Captain Donelan, late Chief Whip of the Irish Party, also attended.

    After the High Noon mass, the funeral procession started to St Finbarr’s Cemetery. The coffin was shouldered by six Volunteers in uniform. The Bishop in his carriage came next. The clergy, numbering about a hundred; Christian Brothers and presentation Brothers followed, who wore Sinn Féin mourning rosettes. Then came the Volunteers Piper’s playing “Wrap the Green Flag Round Me”. Behind was Fr Dominic who was the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, who was accompanied by Cllr Terence MacSwiney and other officers of the volunteers. A carriage laden with wreaths followed and behind them were 25 volunteers, each carrying a wreath. Each wreath comprised an abundance of lilies and daffodils, and long flowing green, gold and white ribbons. The chief mourners walked behind, behind which was members of the Corporation, Harbour Board, and public bodies and organisation. However, the general public comprised over 10,000 people. It took one hour and a half to pass any given point.

    From the North Cathedral to St Finbarr’s Cemetery, the distance was just over four miles via King Street, Merchants Quay, St Patrick’s Street, Washington Street, and Western Road. At the Western Road entrance to Cork Gaol, an open space was preserved by Volunteers to enable the political prisoners to obtain a view of the cortege as it passed from their windows.

At the cemetery, Bishop Cohalan blessed the grave. When it was covered, the Last Post was sounded and three volleys of shots were fired.

 

Captions:

1041a.  Photo of Tomás MacCurtain Lying in State at Cork City Hall, 21 March 1920 (source: Cork City Museum).

1041b. Funeral procession of Tomás MacCurtain on Camden Quay, Cork, 22 March 1920 to St Finbarr’s Cemetery (source: Cork City Museum).

 

1041b. Funeral procession of Tomas MacCurtain on Camden Quay 22 March 1920 to St Finbarr's Cemetery

Covid-19 Update – Social Welfare & Restrictions, 24 March 2020

Please see details of announcement that have just been made in relation to the Covid 19 Social Welfare Payments and also the new restrictions which will now be in place until 19 April . 

 

Increase in Covid 19 Special Social Welfare Payment

The Covid 19 Special Social Welfare Payment has been increased from €203 to €350 per week. This payment is also available to self employed people.

 

Employers to be given a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax

 

The Covid 19 illness payment is also increased to €350 per week – this is also for people in households who have been asked to self-isolate if 1 person is ill with Covid 19

 

The full details on this announcement are available https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/a6d8fa-government-announced-new-covid-19-income-support-scheme/

 

People can apply for forms for these special Covid 19 payments by emailing forms@welfare.ie they can also now apply online at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/be74d3-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment/

 

New Restrictions In place until April 19th

 

  • All theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, marts, markets casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, libraries and other similar places are to shut.
  • All hotels and non-essential retail outlets will close – a list of those will be provided.
  • All cafes and restaurants should limit to take away and deliveries only.
  • All sporting events are cancelled – including those behind closed doors.
  • All playgrounds and holiday/caravan parks are to close.
  • All places of worship are to restrict numbers visiting.
  • All household contacts of someone waiting for a test should restrict their movements.
  • All non-essential visiting to other persons homes should be avoided.
  • All scheduled cruise ships to Ireland will cease.
  • Factories or construction sites should not have to shut – authorities can work with them to make sure physical distancing is possible.
  • There will be an increased presence of park rangers and gardaí in parks and public places to ensure that physical distancing is being observed.
  • Significantly raise the amount of money available on cashless card transactions.
  • All organised indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place
  • Social distancing, in as far as practicable, is to be ensured between the clients/patients in confined settings, such as:

long term care facilities, either for the elderly or people with special needs;

psychiatric institutions;

homeless shelters

prisons

Covid 19 Update – Mortgage Deferrals, 18 March 2020

Details just announced by Minister Paschal Donohoe following his meeting with the Banking industry, which will be of interest to many people who have been affected by Covid 19. Work and negotiations are still ongoing.
 
 
People affected should contact their bank immediately to discuss their personal situation in relation to the below.
 
 
Home owners  and Renters
 
-3 month payment break for mortgage holders impacted by the Covid-19 is to be put in place by all banks.
-Banks and the Minister are also to announce a deferral of repossession legal actions for three months.
-Landlords to also be given the opportunity for this 3 month payment break on their mortgages- this is to be passed onto tenants who have been affected by Covid 19
 
Small to Medium Business
 
-Loan guarantee scheme for small businesses fund of €50m.
– A deferral of up to 3 months on loan repayments
– Supports including extensions of credit lines, risk guarantees and trade finance
 
Further Measures
 
– Flexible arrangements on all loans for up to 3 months
-Contactless card payments to be raised to €50.
– Credit Unions have indicated that they will look favourably upon requests from members who seek assistance from their local branch.
 
 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 23 January 2020

1032a. Darrell Figgis, circa 1920, Secretary of the National Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland, 1919-1922, photographed by Joseph Cashman

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 23 January 2020

Remembering 1920: A Dáil Enquiry Comes to Cork

 

     One hundred years ago this week a research inquiry set up by Dáil Éireann – six months previously – arrived to the steps of Cork City Hall The ensuing event coincided with another stand-off between individuals pushing for a Republic and those upholding Ireland’s place within the British Empire.

   On 18 June 1919 Dáil Éireann decreed the appointment of a National Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland. Subject to its report, it was planned to establish a National Exhibition of Irish Products and Manufactures and Resources, and that an appropriate figure of £5,000 would be made available for such an event. Dublin man and Sinn Féin Honorary Secretary Darrell Figgis was appointed secretary of this national commission of inquiry. Professor Mary Daly’s work in the Atlas of the Irish Revolution outlines that to attract support across a broad political spectrum 60 experts were approached for their expertise from business, academia, county surveyors and labour leaders. Forty-nine agreed to share their perspectives. Two broad areas were focussed on – food supply and power resources. The first public meeting of the Commission in Dublin was held on 2 December 1919 without any disturbance recorded.

   On 22 January 1920 the Commission met at Cork City Hall.  The Cork Examiner outlines that several policemen were in possession of the front portion of the building. Hence admission at the entrance fronting Albert Quay was denied to the members of the Commission as they were part of the outlawed Dáil Éireann (since September 1919). They, however, succeeded in baffling the police and got in by the door leading from the Corn Market side. They went in there one by one between ten and eleven o’clock. It was only at 12noon that the police discovered that a sitting was being held within the building. Immediately the Head Constable and some police went to the room where the evidence was being taken and ejected the members of the Commission.

   On the same day a delegation from Westminster was due to meet in City Hall to gather its data on industrial resources and opportunities in the region. The delegation, with the Lord Mayor William F O’Connor (a Nationalist member) and the High Sheriff arrived a few minutes after noon. As the Lord Mayor walked through the small crowd that had congregated on the quay towards the door of the City Hall, he was stopped by Mr Darrell Figgis, secretary of the Dáil Éireann commission. Darrell asked him if it was not a fact that he had granted them the use of the Hall for the purpose of holding an inquiry into the resources of the country. The Lord Mayor said that was so and Mr Figgis then said that the police had forcibly ejected them and asked if this was done with the Lord Mayor’s consent. The Lord Mayor said that he had given no such order, and that as far as he was concerned, he desired that they should use it. The Head Constable intervened to say that he had orders not to allow them enter.

   The diaries of Liam de Róiste MP and Dil Éireann member outlines his involvement with the bringing of Mr Darrell Figgis to Cork. His diaries can be read in Cork City and County Archives. He met the group the evening before the inquiry meeting at their Cork hotel. He was present that evening when the Head Constable arrived and told the group the Commission would not be allowed to sit at City Hall the following day. It was Liam de Róiste, who had just been elected as a Councillor during the local elections, who brought the group in a side door on the Corn Market side the following day.

   After the group were told to leave City Hall, Liam brought the group to the Cork School of Art. He details that the delegation was about ten in number and amongst others included high profile Sinn Féin members and regional experts – Colonel Maurice Moore (retired Connaught Rangers Regiment commander & Sinn Féin member), Professor Alfred O’Rahilly (Cork Sinn Féin councillor & UCC academic), Roger Sweetnam (Sinn Féin MP), Professor Robert Tweedy (a prominent electrical engineer, Thomas P Dowdall (Cork IDA & butter and margarine manufacturer), Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Dripsey Woollen Mills), Mr Edward Lysaght and Labour leader Tom Johnson. Professor of Agriculture at UCC Thomas Wibberley was the first witness who spoke about agriculture and milk production. He was an expert in tillage dairy farming, farm management and the production of animal foodstuffs.

   After an hour of debate School of Art, a head constable and constable arrived and sat amongst the meeting for a time before they were replaced by two detectives. The commission went on undisturbed. Mr Figgis and a farmer from Cove, a Mr Bird, spoke about milk production. The meeting adjourned for lunch but on the group’s return they found the door blocked by the police. They then left intending to go the Crawford Technical School. Passing the Court House, Liam brought them into the Cork County Council offices. Some of the clerks there locked the doors and the sitting continued till 8pm. Evidence on meat, milk, wool and other products were taken.

   The following day Liam de Róiste reports in his diary that the police occupied the Courthouse and the City Hall. The evidence on fish industries was taken at the delegation’s Cork hotel. The police made a complaint, but the hotel upheld the view that persons not residing in the hotel would not be allowed in.

   In the months ahead, further planned meetings across the country were scuppered by the War of Independence. Eventually in 1922, the National Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland concluded its proceedings and published reports and elaborate maps on dairying, coal, industrial alcohol, milk, peat, fisheries, stock breeding and water power.

Captions:

1032a. Darrell Figgis, circa 1920, Secretary of the National Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland, 1919-1922, photographed by Joseph Cashman (source: RTE Archive)

1032b. Liam De Róiste, circa 1918 (source: Cork City Library)