Monthly Archives: November 2020

Cllr McCarthy – “A Further Dagger into the Hearts of the Survivors’ Alliance”

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has noted that the proposal for a Strategic Housing Development of 179 units in Bessborough and the proposal for 67 units as a general application to Cork City Council are a further “dagger into the hearts of the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance (representing 56+ families)”.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has just submitted its final report to the Minister for Children. The document, which runs to more than 4,000 pages, will be published after it has been reviewed by the Attorney General. It will include the testimonies of people who lived and worked in 14 mother-and-baby homes and four county homes between the 1920s and the 1990s.

But here we have an SHD proposal and a proposal to Cork City Council, which really should wait and see what the findings are first and to review what the recommendations are for each one of the Mother and Baby Home sites. By not waiting just drives another dagger into the hearts of the Survivor’s Alliance, who are just looking for recognition, knowledge of what happened, and a chance to memorialise their babies.

The Survivor’s Alliance deserve way better than an SHD proposal and a proposal to Cork City Council on a fence outside the premises. There has been no consultation with them. The Alliance have put forward, in my opinion, very straightforward proposals.

They want to ensure that the Childrens’ Burial Ground, the nuns’ marked graveyard and the castle folly are brought under City Council jurisdiction, and that the City Council could facilitate grounds maintenance, visitor access and preservation of these connected sites. We should wait and see what the recommendations of the Mother and Baby Home Commission are – there could be provision within that for funding for local government to maintain Mother and Baby Homes graveyards in the public interest.

A City Council managed site at Bessborough’s burial grounds could honour the human rights obligations of the state to the family members of the deceased children. Currently access to the area (Childrens’ Burial Ground, castle folly and adjoining nuns graveyards) is limited to pre-arranged access or trespass.

The Bessborough Commemoration Group have been obliged to negotiate access, on a year by-year basis, and pay public liability insurance for the annual Bessborough Babies Commemoration event.

Many survivors and family members living abroad return to Ireland for this event and others return to Cork from other Irish counties. Indeed the diaspora of survivors includes others who have never returned but may do so if they have somewhere to visit and honour – i.e. memorials and burial grounds. Surely in this day and age the installation of headstones can be done.

The creation of a survivors’ memorial park on the ‘waste ground’ to the east and south of the Bessborough buildings should be pursues. It is important that this park be created in consultation with the wider community of Bessborough survivors and family members.

The establishment of an onsite interpretive centre and archive in collaboration with the survivors and family members of Bessboro inmates should also be looked at – not just a SHD proposal on a fence with no proper and real public consultation”, concluded Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

Bessboro Strategic Housing Development, Application to An Bord Plenanala Site Note, 28 November 2020

Bessboro Strategic Housing Development, Application to An Bord Plenanala Site Note, 28 November 2020

Cllr McCarthy: “Permanently pedestrianising one of Cork’s best-loved amenities has been cemented by ‘overwhelming’ public support, 25 November 2020

25 November 2020, “Permanently pedestrianising one of Cork’s best-loved amenities has been cemented by “overwhelming public support” and signals a sea change in the urge people have for increased green and liveable city areas. That is according to independent Cork city councillor, Kieran McCarthy”. ‘Overwhelming’ support for permanent car ban at Cork’s Marina, ‘Overwhelming’ support for permanent car ban at Cork’s Marina (irishexaminer.com)

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

1076a. Photograph of Tom Barry, c.1920 (source: Cork City Library).

1076a. Photograph of Tom Barry, c.1920 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 26 November 2020

Remembering 1920: The Kilmichael Ambush

The Kilmichael ambush site was one of several staging points of attack on British forces during the Irish War of Independence. On 28 November 1920, the Black and Tans left the town of Macroom, to be unexpectedly greeted by the Flying Column led by West Cork man and republican Tom Barry at Kilmichael. Tom had enlisted in the British Army during the First World War and served in Mesopotamia. He re­turned to Ireland in 1919 and became a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence. The ambush area he chose was and still is in the centre of a rocky and barren landscape. A week before the ambush, men came together at nearby Clogher to be trained in guerrilla warfare tactics by General Barry.

In all seventy-five men were involved in the Kilmichael Ambush and they were from all parts of West Cork, including Dunmanway, Clonakilty, Bantry, Bandon, Ballineen, Newcestown and Coppeen. Tom Barry later penned Guerilla Days in Ireland (1949) and The Reality of the Anglo-Irish War 1919-21 (1974), which detail his own memories and perspectives on and personal role in the Irish War of Independence. In Guerilla Days in Ireland, he noted of his tactics at Kilmichael:

The point of this road chosen for the attack was one and half miles south of Kilmichael. Here the north-south road surprisingly turns west-east for one hundred and fifty yards and then resumes its north-south direction. There were no ditches on either side of the road but a number of scattered rocky eminences of varying sizes. No house was visible except one, one hundred and fifty yards south of the road at the western entrance to the position. It was on this stretch of road it was hoped to attack the auxiliaries.

As the first lorry of Black and Tans came around the turn of the road, Tom Barry, dressed in a volunteer tunic, stood facing it on the road. Because of the fading light, the British thought him to be a British Officer and slowed down. As they did, Barry blew on his whistle and tossed the mill bomb, which landed in the lorry killing the driver. The No. 1 Section dealt with those remaining in the lorry, the Auxiliaries firing shots and the Flying Column pouring lead into them. Soon, some of the Auxiliaries were on the road, the fight becoming a hand-to-hand one. The Auxiliaries in the second lorry were taken on by the No. 2 Section and soon, those in the first lorry had been defeated. Seeing this, Barry and his three companions moved along the grass verge from their post to ambush the second lorry from behind unknown to the Black and Tans.

The Kilmichael Ambush delivered a ‘profound shock’ to the British system, happening only a week after the ‘Bloody Sunday’ assassination of a dozen army officers in Dublin and days after a large section of the Liverpool docklands was burned down. Dublin and Liverpool showed British weaknesses, but Kilmichael revealed that the IRA could combat and win against British soldiers in the field. Shortly afterwards a small memorial cross was erected at the Kilmichael Ambush site.

Fast forwards to 1966, and across the country, various groups chose to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 Rising through various means such as parades and unveiling new memorials. Cork had the highest number of events with thirty-four recorded events.

Cork’s Southern Star newspaper (on 5 February 1966) noted that to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising in the Kilmichael area, in January 1965 a committee had begun working a year earlier on a new monument for the ambush site. The committee was headed up by its president, Commandant General Tom Barry (veteran leader of the ambush).

Assembling figures such as Tom Barry, in addition to well-known veterans of the West Cork Brigade of the War of Independence and others such as the local parish priest, and the local national teacher, gave weight to the representational structure of the committee. It also gave significance to the importance of the memorial and the narratives that they were involved in constructing. They included Canon Cornelius O’Brien, the local parish priest of Kilmichael and local historian, Commandant Pat O’Brien (Vice President of committee and veteran of West Cork Brigade), Tom Hales (Vice Chairman of committee and veteran of West Cork Brigade), Major Maurice Donegan (Vice President of committee and veteran of West Cork Brigade), Daniel O’Leary (treasurer), Jim Barry (representative on the Cork sub-committee), William Hales (veteran of West Cork Brigade) and Flor Crowley, local national teacher (secretary). The honorary secretary of the Kilmichael and Crossbarry memorials committee, Mr Flor Crowley, said at that unveiling that the monument was regarded as a tribute by the whole people of Ireland to the soldiers who had fought at Kilmichael and to the three men who died there and not as the tribute by any individual section of the people.

Local man Dennis Dineen took several pictures of the Kilmichael Ambush Memorial being erected in 1966. An avid photographer and entrepreneur from the nearby town of Macroom, he was also a vintner and a taxi driver. Dennis, who died in 1985, not only supplied pictures to newspapers but also photographed weddings, families, class groups, teams, and streetscapes in the region. During his career he captured many historic and iconic moments in the history of mid Cork in an effort to build up a portfolio of memories for future reflection and use.

On 10 July 1966 Canon Cornelius O’Brien, Parish Priest of Kilmichael, unveiled the elaborate monument, dedicated to the memory of the Kilmichael Ambush in 1920. It was completed by Terry McCarthy, of McCarthy and Sons Sculptors, Cork City.

Kieran’s latest 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:

1076a. Photograph of Tom Barry, c.1920 (source: Cork City Library).

1076b. Assembling the Kilmichael Ambush memorial by McCarthy and Sons Sculptors, 1966 (picture: Dennis Dineen Collection).

1076b. Assembling the Kilmichael Ambush memorial by McCarthy and Sons Sculptors, 1966 (picture: Dennis Dineen Collection).

1076b. Assembling the Kilmichael Ambush memorial by McCarthy and Sons Sculptors, 1966 (picture: Dennis Dineen Collection).

Cllr McCarthy: Welcome Publication of Public Consultation Findings on The Marina Pedestrianisation

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the conclusion of the public consultation process on the permanent closure of the Marina from its junction with the northern entrance of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to its junction with Church Avenue, to vehicular traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The report arising from the consultation was discussed by local councillors at their local area committee meeting this week. Two hundred and fifty (250) submissions were received in relation to the proposed scheme. A total of 224 of the submissions expressed support for the proposal and in some cases suggested additional work or amendments to the proposal. A total of 21 of the submissions objected to the proposal. Overall, there was strong support for the proposal presented for the pedestrianisation of The Marina”.

The City Council propose to respond to a number of recurring items that were raised by the general public. The current proposed pedestrianisation on The Marina will be given effect initially by installing removable bollards on The Marina at its junction with the northern Páirc Uí Chaoimh entrance and with its junction with Church Avenue. A consultant has been appointed to look at the feasibility of providing fixtures of a more permanent nature such as automatic rising bollards at this location.

The current proposed pedestrianisation on The Marina will only provide access to the area for emergency vehicles and vehicles used for the purposes of the operation, maintenance, repair and improvement of services & infrastructure. A car park accommodating approximately 200 vehicles and disabled bays has been provided as part of the Marina Park development and is located at Centre Park Rd/ Marina junction running west towards Shandon Rowing Club

Requests to extend the scheme to the City Centre is outside the scope of this proposal, however, this may be considered as part of the development of the South Docklands area.

Public realm improvements such as the resurfacing, shared space, public lighting, seating, etc. are outside of the scope of this proposal, however funding is being sought to upgrade The Marina. Subject to the allocation of funding, a scheme will be designed and be brought forward for consideration to the public and local councillors.

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Following assessment of the submissions received and the issues raised at the local area committee meeting, the report has now been referred for voting upon at the mid-December Council meeting of Cork City Council.

Cllr Kieran McCarthy: Work in Garryduff Woods on Track

Press Release:


Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed that Garryduff Woods is fully open to the public again. This followed a series of works by the wood’s manager, An Coillte. It was agreed earlier this year with the local community that the next step was to replant the area with broadleafs. The programme of works already completed included hedge cutting, tree surgery and road maintenance prior to the felling, the felling itself, ground cultivation and timber haulage.
The site is now prepared for planting which is planned to take place in quarter one of 2021 when plants are available.

The site does not need to be closed for this operation as it is manual work only and no heavy machinery will be required. The replanting will consist of the following species – Oak (2 hectares), Birch (2 hectares), Scots Pine (1.4 hectare), Norway Spruce (1 hectare). The Oak, Birch and Scots Pine will be planted, mixed at a ‘stocking rate’ of 3,300 stems per hectare for the oak and birch and 2,500 stems per hectare for the Scots Pine. Norway Spruce to be planted in small groups throughout the site at 2,500 stems per hectare.


This site will be managed primarily for biodiversity values and a critical element of this is will be future interventions that will form part of the overall biodiversity management plan. Such interventions are necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of the biodiversity values for e.g. light thinnings to favour Oak, which will be done manually.

The Norway Spruce cones are favoured by red squirrels due to the soft cones that it produces. The cones produced by the Scots Pine will also add to the diversity of food source for red squirrels on site. This new replanting will also allow for the staggering of age-classes should help the red squirrel and the biodiversity value of the site.


Cllr McCarthy noted: “Since the boundary extension last year, Cork City has inherited this very beautiful 26-hectare forest amenity managed by An Coillte. It is a site I am rediscovering over the past year especially from a historical perspective of the Old Court estate and the Civil War Battle of Douglas in 1922, which was held across the woods. Plus I have been vocal many times in the Council Chamber that the City Council needs an effective urban forestry management strategy within the city area. Such a strategy should also connect to other entities such as An Coillte for cross collaborative work”.

Cllr McCarthy calls for Ballinlough’s Our Lady of Lourdes Road Junction to be Re-Examined, 21 November 2020.

Press Release:

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has asked the Operation Directorate of Cork City Council to re-examine the road safety measures at the junction of Ballinlough Road and Bellair Estate. Cllr McCarthy highlights: “It’s a regular issue local people have raised with me. The corner of Old Lady of Lourdes National School is a blind corner and has many people crossing this dangerous stretch of road every day”.

In response to Cllr McCarthy’s motion, the Operations Directorate of Cork City Council noted that “earlier this year improved signage and line markings have been installed on the western arm of the junction on the one-way portion of the Ballinlough Road to increase visibility and awareness that this section is a one-way road”. Notwithstanding this, the Council have said the road junction will remain on the list of areas for assessment for a traffic management project or road safety improvement scheme. The assessment will also consider which additional measures may be appropriate and feasible to improve road safety in the vicinity of the area. Concluding the operations directorate have noted to Cllr McCarthy’s motion; “Currently there is no funding available for traffic management projects. Any works deemed appropriate can be added for consideration in the future roads programme and undertaken subject to selection by the Members and available resources”.

Our Lady of Lourdes road junction, Ballinlough, Cork from Google Maps

Pictures, The Marina, Cork, 20 November 2020

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

The Marina, Cork, November 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy: “Proposal for mixed-use development at iconic Cork building could ‘breathe new life into the area”

19 November 2020, “In the past year there are some really great examples of conversions of old buildings into tasteful apartments – such as on the South Terrace, George’s Quay, and Langford Row.  There is a very real need for accommodation within the city centre,” Cllr Kieran McCarthy said. Proposal for mixed-use development at iconic Cork building could ‘breathe new life into the area”. https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/Proposal-for-mixed-use-development-at-iconic-Cork-building-could-breathe-new-life-into-the-area-32d526d8-e01f-42dd-8056-51ba388d876a-ds?fbclid=IwAR1CNyW5uVLTIZx6buYXfZwKRTXp3QoE3YLrA43LvmglcPWNLzGMQbLdA2o

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 19 November 2020

1075a. Portrait of Patrick Hanley 1920 (source: Cork City Library).

1075a. Portrait of Patrick Hanley 1920 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 19 November 2020

Remembering 1920: The Murder of Patrick Hanley

This week coincides with the centenary of teenager Patrick Hanley, who was shot by crown forces on 17 November 1920. George Hurley was a comrade of Patrick within Fianna Éireann or the youth division of Cork IRA Brigade No.1. He recalls the lead-up and incident in his witness statement to the Bureau of Military History (WS1630).

In 1919, the Fianna Éireann headquarters was moved to a private house on Cork’s Pope’s Quay, and, in 1920, to a house on North Main Street. This latter place served as headquarters up to the Truce of July 1921. The training programme of the Fianna consisted of drilling, signalling instruction and lectures in first-aid and in the use of the revolver and rifle. A rifle was used for instruction purposes. Frequent parades took place and on occasions the boys marched out into the country where field training was carried on. A distinctive uniform was worn consisting of a blue short pants, a green shirt with a saffron scarf, and a green broad-brimmed hat.

 The use of revolvers was discouraged by the senior organisation of the IRA in the city. A direction was given to the Fianna by headquarters in Cork that the Fianna Éireann was not to carry out any attacks on enemy forces by shooting, unless with the prior permission of the IRA.

The youth division pasted up posters concerning meetings, concerts and public parades. They helped in taking up collections of money for national purposes prisoners’ aid. funds, Sinn Féin election funds and such like. Enemy posters proclamations were torn down.

As time went on and the struggle became more intense in 1920, so also did Fianna Éireann activities increase. They carried out scouting duty and dispatches for the IRA and helped in the removal from suspected places of IRA ammunition and guns. They carried out daylight raids on shops and vans containing provisions and various other goods being dispatched to military barracks in Cork. On several occasions, they held up individual soldiers or Black and Tans and took their equipment.

The murder of Paddy Hanley was by way of a reprisal by the British for the shooting of an RIC sergeant named O’Donoghue by G Company of the IRA earlier on the same night of 17 November 1920 in the course of an IRA raid on Lunham’s bacon factory.

Patrick lived with his widowed mother at No. 2 Broad Street. He was the sole support of her and his sister. At about 11.45 p.m. on the night of 17 November 1920, the residents of No. 2 Broad Street were awakened by the noise of the front door being broken open; a man rushed up the stairs and entered the bedroom of Mr and Mrs Coleman who also resided in the house. The man was wearing a policeman’s uniform, cap and goggles. He came to the bedside with a revolver in one hand and a flash lamp in the other.

When asked by Mrs Coleman what brought him there, he merely exclaimed “Hello”, flashed his lamp on the bed, raised his revolver and fired point-blank into the bed. The bullet wounded Mr Coleman in the arm. The assailant then turned and walked out of the room leaving Mrs Coleman screaming.

Paddy Hanley opened the door of his room when he heard the man rushing up the stairs. The man in police uniform had just come from Mrs Coleman’s room. Whilst standing at the door of his bedroom door, Patrick was fired at. It missed him. The man fired a second time and the bullet struck Patrick above the heart, killing him instantly. He was in his night attire at the time.An ex-British army soldier who lived in Broad Lane was also shot dead.

Leo Buckley, Intelligence Officer with Cork Brigade No.1, was a witness of the shooting (WS1714, Bureau of Military History). At the time, he was sleeping in a top back room of an apartment house in Sheares Street. He recalls that some hours prior to Patrick’s death, an RIC Sergeant had been shot by Tommy Healy and Willie Joe O’Brien of G Company. Tommy and Willie were hiding on Sheares Street. Leo denotes in his witness statement that he felt that Patrick had been shot in mistake for Tommy Healy, while the shooting of O’Brien’s brother-in-law the ex-British army soldier was also a mistake.

In another reprisal raid the same night by the RIC in the Grattan Street, another Fianna boy O’Brien was shot in the mouth. He subsequently recovered from the wound. Volunteer Eugene O’Connell was also killed on the same evening as a reprisal for his part in the murder of the RIC Sergeant. An IRA man suspected of giving information as to who shot the RIC Sergeant was later apprehended and executed by the IRA.

Patrick Hanley’s remains were laid out in his Fianna Éireann uniform in the mortuary of the Mercy Hospital and later removed to the church of SS Peter & Paul. He was buried in St Finbarr’s Cemetery, the tricolour-draped coffin being shouldered all the way to the cemetery by the dead boy’s comrades.

At the Republican Plot there are two memorials to his memory – an individual cross and a marble stone to Fianna Éireann. In addition, on 17 November 1957, a plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor Jago in memory of Patrick Hanley on Patrick Hanley Buildings on Grattan Street. Eugene O’Callaghan’s headstone can also be viewed in the Republican Plot.

Kieran’s latest 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:

1075a. Portrait of Patrick Hanley 1920 (source: Cork City Library).

1075b. Gravestone of Patrick Hanley in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1075c. Remembrance plaque to Patrick Hanley on Grattan Street, Cork, erected in 1957 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).


1075b. Gravestone of Patrick Hanley in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1075c. Remembrance plaque to Patrick Hanley on Grattan Street, Cork, erected in 1957 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Cllr McCarthy: Marina Park Progressing, 17 November 2020

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed progress on Marina Park. In response to Cllr McCarthy’s question on the floor of the most recent City Council meeting to the Chief Executive, he was informed that Phase 1 of the contract commenced in early March 2020 with a scheduled completion date of May 2021. Works were suspended on 30 March  due to the COVID – 19 lock-down in accordance with Government guidelines. Works resumed on site on 18 May following the lifting of restrictions for construction works. The contractor is making great progress on the works and is confident of achieving the scheduled completion date of May 2021.

Phase One, which covers the area from the Marquee Link Road (linking Monahan and Centre Park roads) to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, also incorporates new pathways, the installation of sunken lawn areas as well as the diversion of a watercourse.

The current works comprise the creation of a new public car park at the Shandon Boat Club end of the Marina, as well as a new cycle lane and pedestrian walkway (all completed), and the installation of a prominent red steel pavilion on the site of, and reproducing, the essence of the central hall of the former Munster Showgrounds.

Liam Casey, senior parks and landscape officer with the Council has noted in recent weeks that this structure will be roofed, but the sides will not be enclosed, and there will be opportunities for coffee pods and outdoor seating and arts and crafts.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “there is local excitement about the Marina Park development. It is now over seven years since the Part 8 document came before the City Council. The park was held up in the early days due to a lack of funding but has since received funded from an Urban EU funding pot. This is enough finances to develop phase one of the park, which is basically the foundations and greening of the former brownfields site of the former showgrounds”.

However, Cork City Council anticipates that it will go to tender later in November for the second phase of its bold Marina Park project which will ultimately see the formation of a contemporary city park, about five times the size of the famous FitzGerald’s Park. Phase 2, which concentrates on development to the east of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, takes in the Atlantic Pond and continues down as far as Blackrock Village.