EU in My City, Europe Day, 9 May 2020

Mary Elmes Bridge, Cork


Cllr Kieran McCarthy

Europe Day, 9 May, is a chance to reflect on the many social and economic challenges of our time. Regions and cities across the EU remain at the frontline of responding to such challenges – acting upon them, finding resolutions, whilst all the time moving forward in an ambitious and sustainable way. The recent Coronavirus pandemic has also shown once again how important local and regional authorities are to the lives of EU citizens. In my membership of the European Committee of the Regions, which is an assembly of Regional Presidents, Mayors and Councillors I have seen first-hand the importance of sharing knowledge and experience to help each other, create more sustainable cities, towns and regions and to feed into present and EU future policy areas. 

EU Funding For Cork City:

Cork has received many chunks of EU Funds over the past decades. For the 2014-2020 period EU support has been provided to Cork City Council through the various European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF). These were matched by local and national resources. For example, most recently EU structural funding was witnessed in the construction of Mary Elmes Bridge (€1.5 million) and the ongoing development of Marina Park in South Docklands (€3.5 million).

A significant portion of the EU Structural Funds has been targeted at reducing the carbon footprint of Cork City Council’s social housing stock with separate measures targeting the stock of older houses and of apartments. The interventions being carried out to social housing units include attic and wall insulation works; the upgrading of windows and external doors; and the fitting of high-efficiency condensing boilers or heat pumps. These must achieve an upgrade of at least one level in the energy rating of each unit targeted.

The structural funds in Ireland have also created Entrepreneurship in Micro-Enterprise scheme. This basically allows the city’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Cork to invest to support start-ups, business expansion and higher innovation levels in the manufacturing and traded services.

The European Social Fund (ESF) tackles poverty and social exclusion through targeted engagement and investment in the form of community capacity development and individual life-long learning and labour market supports. This is being delivered by Cork City Partnership and managed by the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).

Collaboration with other EU Cities & Regions:

            As of early 2020, Cork City Council has, or has only recently concluded, an involvement in 29 EU regional collaboration projects. These are the result of joint applications put together by organisations from across the continent, including like-minded cities in similar contexts. They are part of competitive bidding processes seeking approval by the European Commission. The activity ranges across the entire Council, covering issues of community, social inclusion and learning; culture, heritage and tourism, climate and energy; enterprise and innovation, planning and development, digital transformation; and emergency services.

While some of the engagement is restricted to an advisory capacity, nineteen of these undertakings see Cork City Council involved as full partners. Eighteen are enabled by the award of direct funding from Brussels for the delivery of specific activities on the ground. Over the last five years, these have garnered a combined €2.678 million in additional revenue for Cork City Council. This has made possible the resourcing of staff as project managers. So, studies and research can be conducted, and planning activity drawn up. Finance delivers pilot actions and small-scale investment on the ground that otherwise would not have taken place.

 The projects are providing opportunities to significantly broaden our horizons by means of in-depth exchange and collaboration on specific issues. Consequently, Cork City Council is able to contribute to the pooling of knowledge and sharing of experience as to how common challenges are being addressed in different places. The Council can then investigate and demonstrate whether alternative perspectives and approaches can be adapted and transferred to have a positive impact in Cork.

EU Affairs Officer:

            In 2019, CCC appointed a full-time EU Affairs Coordinator, Ronan Gingles, to facilitate and fully inform access to quality engagement in EU opportunities and initiatives. The role has a whole-of-organisation remit to support European activity that clearly contributes to and informs Cork City Council’s objectives and the development of Cork as an inclusive, future-focussed, sustainable, and competitive European city of scale.

Memberships and Networking

Cork City Council also currently maintains memberships of the following European networks as a means to enhance engagement in EU activity, created interaction with peers, access to knowledge and tools, including best practice; and identified opportunities including project bids.

The Atlantic Arc Cities group comprises 20 cities along or close to the Atlantic seaboard. They work together to explore sustainable urban development through green, attractive and solidarity-based cities.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is aninfluential network has a global as well as a European focus. It ranges across sixteen topics through which it seeks to influence sustainability policy and drive local low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development action for positive change on the ground.

Startup Europe Regions Networkis dedicated to reinforcing the links between the local and regional authorities, development agencies, universities and associations which support and scale up early-stage businesses across Europe to promote a culture of start-up friendly regions.

POLIS(sustainable and innovative mobility) is a network, which allows cities and regions to collaborate on the development of innovative policies and technologies to improve local transport, including through integrated approaches that address the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The European Cultural Tourism Networkspecialises in the development and promotion of sustainable cultural tourism by bringing together destinations, authorities.

Prevailing Together:

Finally, we should not forget who we are, yes we are Corkonians but being members of a European Union, brings huge benefits to all of us. That being said we all have our different cultures, traditions and languages.  The EU need to works for and on behalf of its citizens, respecting our diverse regions and demonstrating that we can really be united in diversity.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has recently been reappointed by National Government to serve on the Irish delegation to the EU Committee of the Region in Brussels (CoR) for 2020-2024. The 329-strong body of elected representatives from across Europe’s cities and regions provides the formal mechanism for sub-national input into the EU policy process. Kieran is currently the President of the European Alliance Grouping in the CoR, web.cor.europa.eu.

Leaving Certificate Postponement, Statement by Minister for Education, 8 May 2020

Statement 08 May, 2020

Minister announces postponement of 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations All students to be offered the option of accepting Calculated Grades or sitting Leaving Certificate written examinations at a later date The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Friday 8 May 2020) announced the postponement of the 2020 Leaving Certificate.   Following a decision at Cabinet, all students are to be offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades for the subjects they are studying and the alternative of sitting the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations.   The decision has been taken following an assessment of public health advice and other information and the implications for holding the exams from the previously rescheduled date of Wednesday 29 July 2020.  

Minister McHugh said: “I have made every effort to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held.   “My desire had been to allow students to undertake the written and practical examinations in July and August but I have compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, that the Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students.”   Minister McHugh said: “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 has led to a decision that has never happened in our country before. I fully appreciate the magnitude of this issue, for the students and their families, for the teachers and for school principals.   “This decision is taken with the best interests of students at heart. I have a responsibility to find a fair way to address the disadvantage that some students are facing and the impact a lack of time in school has had in recent weeks.   “The system being put in place will allow a young person to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion.   “The fairest and most equitable way to do that in the current circumstances is to offer students the option of Calculated Grades for the 2020 Leaving Certificate but also to guarantee them the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way.   “The decision has to be taken now to remove the anxiety that many students have been experiencing over how the exams would look later in the summer.”   Minister McHugh thanked the advisory group of stakeholders for their input in recent weeks in relation to the holding of the examinations.   The following is a breakdown of the process to be applied for students to be given the option of Calculated Grades or to sit the examinations.

  1. The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations, previously scheduled to take place in late July and August, have been postponed.
  2. There will be no Leaving Certificate fee this year. All exam fees which have been paid will be refunded.
  3. Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgment of each student’s attainment which will be subjected to a rigorous in-school alignment process to ensure fairness.
  4. The school principal will approve the estimated scores being provided and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school.
  5. A special unit is being established within the Department of Education and Skills to process the data provided by each school and operate national standardisation, again to ensure fairness amongst all students.
  6. The Department will finalise the grades for each student which will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date. Formal State certification will also be provided.
  7. Students will retain the right to appeal. This will involve checks on school-entered data; correct transfer of that data to the Department; a review that it was correctly received and processed by the Department; and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.
  8. Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held.

Ends Notes for Editors There are two main phases in the process of arriving at a Calculated Grade: School-based and national standardisation.   Both phases are underpinned by the principles of teacher professionalism, support for students, objectivity, fairness and equity, collaboration and timeliness.   In addition, and in the spirit of fairness to all Leaving Certificate students, the option of sitting the Leaving Certificate examinations when it becomes feasible to hold them remains open to all students.   The process of arriving at a Calculated Grade applies to: •                  Established Leaving Certificate – subjects •                  Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms •                  Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules. Other materials being published include

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 7 May 2020

1047a. Emmet McCormack & Albert Moore of Moore McCormack Shipping Lines, c.1920 b

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 7 May 2020
Remembering 1920: A Cork to New York Shipping Lane

 

    Established in 1913 by Albert V Moore and Emmet J McCormack – the Moore McCormack Company – began with one ship, which ran between the United States and Brazil. Such was that success they acquired more steamships. After the First World War, the American company bought several surplus ships and began further trading links with South America and further afield to the eastern Mediterranean, India and Western Europe.

    In the autumn of 1919 the Moore McCormack Company, based on Broadway New York, was visited by Corkman Diarmuid Fawsitt. Diarmuid had been sent to New York by Dáil Éireann in particular by Acting President Arthur Griffith. In Éamon de Valera’s Papers in UCD Archives, Diarmuid was to become a reference point or a follow-up business contact for Éamon and Harry Boland on their American ‘rallying support campaign’ for Ireland’s Independence across 1919 and 1920. Diarmuid Fawsitt’s title was the “Consul and Trade Commissioner of the Irish Republic”. Diarmuid based himself in New York but was often in Boston and Washington for meetings. He regularly corresponded and collaborated with Dáil Éireann. Both could see the potential of the country to work with emerging liner companies to transport goods to and from and America. In essence, this was quite a practical strand of developing Ireland’s physical international connections. Such activity also contrasts sharply with the violence of the Irish War of Independence, which appeared more and more across Ireland in late 1919 and early 1920.

    In September 1919, the Moore-McCormack Company began shipping from Philadelphia to Cork, Dublin, and Belfast. In February 1920 to honour the business agreement, Diarmuid Fawsitt commenced arrangements for the visit to Ireland of Mr Emmet J McCormack, who had Irish American ancestry. In early May 1920 Emmet McCormack travelled from New York on board one of the largest of the Cunard liners, the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, to Liverpool via Queenstown (Cobh).

   On 3 May 1920, the Cork Examiner records that Mr McCormack alighted on the quays in Cork on a transfer boat from the lower harbour. He was met by the Chairman and members of the Cork Harbour Board who escorted him to the Custom House quay where at 12.30pm he was put on tender boat named Ireland. He was officially brought back down the harbour to view its scenic and industrial points. On the outward journey a short stop look place at Victoria Deepwater Quay in order to give the party an opportunity of inspecting the site for a proposed new transit shed accommodation. As the Ireland steamed past one of the Moore McCormack Company’s ships SS Tashmoo, discharging at Ford’s wharf, greetings were exchanged. Exchanges of courtesy took place when the party steamed past Blackrock Castle, from which Irish flags were waved, and the Passage and Rushbrooke Docks. Having concluded the itinerary, the Ireland anchored at East Ferry, where a luncheon was served. Opportunity was availed of on the return journey to make a short stop in Queenstown (Cobh), where the beautiful St Colman’s Cathedral was visited and much admired by Emmet McCormack and the other guests.

    In the evening Emmet J McCormack and party were entertained, to dinner in the Imperial Hotel by the Harbour Commissioners to meet leading representatives of the mercantile, industrial, and shipping community. Mr D J Lucy, Chairman, presided. Amongst those present, was Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney. Dinner over, the Chairman rose to propose a toast to the health of Mr McCormack, which the chairman noted “had come there that day, not only as an American citizen, but as an Irishman”. The toast he added was a “symbol of the unification of the two countries of America and Ireland”. He highlighted that Mr McCormack’s Irish ancestry. He thanked him for “stepping into the breach with his line of 24 ships because his sympathy was with Ireland”. Mr Lucey outlined that with “patriotic generosity Mr McCormack was prepared, if necessary, to run a direct service to America for twelve months at a loss in order to make the venture a success”. The Chairman believed that the Moore McCormack service had come to stay, and he thanked Mr McCormack for it.

    Emmet McCormack replied with deep gratitude and outlined that there were eight steamers engaged in direct service between New York and Irish ports, involving an expenditure of eight million dollars. He was proud of his Irish ancestry who he believed had always relied on their own energy, strength and accomplishments. He deemed himself glad to represent the Irish race in America, and he had no apologies to make for his pride. Their efforts in connection with the direct service between Ireland and America were not finished and were ambitious.

    According to Mr McCormack, the Moore McCormack Company intended to couple up their New York-Scandinavian service, stopping at Irish ports – i.e. that accommodation would be provided for any Irish freight that might be going to Scandinavian or Baltic ports. They would endeavour to connect Ireland with New York direct, and also with Swedish and Baltic ports. While they were putting all their efforts and capital into the enterprise, they wished to develop, if possible, a returning business from Ireland.

    Emmet McCormack highlighted that Ireland had resources, labour, and capital, and that must be developed. He expressed the view that in the United States they would “buy anything from Ireland”, as the people of America, were sympathetic with Ireland and its aims and ambitions, and they would pay good prices for such goods. He hoped the Irish people would co-operate with them in that direction and would make their enterprise a complete success.

   The Moore McCormack Company shipped to Cork until late 1925 by which point the Irish Free State utilised less and less the shipping company on the west bound route.

 

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:

1047a. Emmet McCormack & Albert Moore of Moore McCormack Company, c.1920 (source: Cork Library).

1047b. The Quays Cork, c.1910 (source: Cork Public Museum).

1047b. The Quays Cork, c.1910

 

 

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”.

Cork City Council & COVID-19 Community Response Update in Blackrock and Mahon, 3 May 2020

 
Many thanks to everyone,
 
Blackrock/Mahon Community Gardai have set up a phone number for people who are cocooning should they need help collecting pensions and prescriptions. The phone number is 089 459 8574.
 
Mahon Community Development Project (CDP) are keeping in regular phone contact with older residents and families who use their community creche.
 
Its CDP team is delivering interactive fun gift packs to the homes of 150 older people and 30 children who attend the creche. Packs include bubbles, play dough, wild flower seeds, homemade cookies and colouring pencils.
 
It has also set up an emergency meals on wheels service..
Volunteers from Blackrock GAA CLUB are doing food shopping and food deliveries for people who are cocooning while another group of Community Response Forum (CRF) volunteers are also doing grocery runs and collections.
 
Mahon Community Centre and the Rainbow Club Centre for Autism are delivering food hampers and undertaking small DIY jobs, if necessary.
 
A broken fridge was replaced by the CRF for a man who is cocooning and a washing machine for another man, when the CRF team learnt he was washing his clothes in the bath.
 
The Yew Tree Project has provided over 20 local families with Busy Bee arts and crafts packs.
 
Cork City Council Community Response Forum Lead, Sandra O’Meara said: “We have seen an amazing response to Covid-19 from all the community and voluntary groups in Mahon. Whether its delivering food or collecting pensions, the CRF is making a big difference to older people and families here. Activity packs have been sent to young and old and we’ve asked them to send us back pictures of them using them and of whatever they are making or creating at home. We’ve all really enjoyed seeing what a difference these initiatives are making to young and old”.
Mahon Community Response Forum, 1 May 2020

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

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 30 April 2020

1046a. King Street, c.1910

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 30 April 2020
Remembering 1920: MacCurtain Street is Born

 

     On 23 April 1920 – this week one hundred years ago – one of Cork’s principal streets was to get a name change to provide another outlet for the public outpouring of grief arising from the murder of Tomás MacCurtain. Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney, under Lord Mayor’s items, at the Cork Corporation meeting proposed in a short motion: “That the name of King Street be changed to MacCurtain Street”. He did not wish to add anything to the motion except to say that it was their duty “to do honour to their immortal dead” but did propose that the plaque for the thoroughfare be solely in the Irish language.

    There were 36 of the 56 Council members present with the majority on the night being Sinn Féin members. Commercial public representative Sir John Scott moved as an amendment that the renaming proposal matter be deferred to the next meeting in order that the people who had vested interests in the street in question could come before the Council or any public objection could be taken to the proposed change. There was no seconder to Sir John Scott’s amendment and without any more debate the Lord Mayor’s motion was carried.

    Sir John Scott did give a historic reference within his speech, pointing out that King Street had been called after an old family whose members had been prominently identified with the commerce and politics of Cork. Robert King (1796-1867) was of the Kingston family of Mitchelstown Castle. He was a member of the British army, who stayed in France after Napoleon’s fall. He was returned to Parliament for County Cork – a Whig politician – from 1826 to 1832. In 1836 he was High Sheriff of County Cork.

    The renaming of King Street to MacCurtain Street was one of three acts of remembrance to be put into place to consolidate the public solidarity against the murder of Tomás MacCurtain in the  weeks that followed but also they were to make sure his future memory was secured in Cork. The other acts – the inquest and a public memorial fund – also caught the public imagination.

   On 30 March 1920 a public meeting was held in the City Hall to inaugurate a memorial fund for the widow und family of the Lord Mayor Alderman Tomás MacCurtain. Bishop Cohalan chaired the meeting. He very much regretted the sad and tragic event that brought them together. His first duty and the duty of the whole body of citizens was to express and convey to Mrs MacCurtain, the Lady Mayoress, their sincere sympathy on the great bereavement that had befallen her. He knew the Lord Mayor since 1916, and in his death he deemed that the citizens of Cork had lost an “intelligent, man, an upright man, and a very unselfish man”.

   The Bishop denoted that the object of their meeting was to erect a financial monument or fund to the Lord Mayor, to support for a time the widow and the children. He appealed to the citizens, irrespective of creed or class, to support the fund; he noted; “it is not an appeal for a private individual; it is an appeal for a man who was the civic head of the municipality, the first citizen of Cork”.

   The speeches from those present – politicians and commercial figures – contained many accolades given to Tomás and in their own way laid the foundations of how he would be remembered and described by historians in years to come. Alderman Liam de Róiste’s intervention is noteworthy in his description of Tomás. He rose and in Irish proposed the MacCurtain Memorial Fund. He appealed to the citizens of Cork and to the people of Ireland in general to make this fund a success. He said that never before in the history of Cork City had he seen such an occasion to arise; “Tomás MacCurtain was struck down by the hand of an assassin. Had he been spared those associated with his work he felt confident that his energy, his initiative, his love of country, and his desire for the city’s welfare would have been valuable assets to the whole community, and would have been meant much for the progress and welfare of all of all sections and classes in the city”.

   Cllr Barry Egan proposed that Messrs D. O’Connell, Coroner William Murphy, solicitor, the Town Clerk, the City Solicitor, City Engineer and Mr Hegarty (Lord Mayor’s Secretary) be appointed secretaries of the Fund. Alderman Denis Lucey seconded and it was carried unanimously.

   As the days and weeks passed between April and October 1920, donations were listed regularly as subscription lists – over 25 listings at least – on the Cork Examiner. By early October 1920, the public had subscribed over £14,600 in donations and over £2,300 has been given to the family. For the most part donations came in small monetary numbers – a pound and few shillings. On 26 April 1920, a letter (catalogued in Cork City and County Archives) to Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney from Michael Collins enclosed his contribution to the Lord Mayor’s Memorial Fund. The letter noted the national significance and great importance of the fund.

   However, one of the largest donations was from Terence MacSwiney himself who gave two donations from his Lord Mayor’s salary – two £125 donations – one at the start of the memorial fund and the other in early October 1920 during his hunger strike Brixton Prison where he gave £125 of his Lord Mayor’s salary. The memorial fund process finished just before December 1920.

   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:

1046a. King Street, c.1910 (picture: Cork Public Museum)

1046b. MacCurtain Street, March 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1046b. MacCurtain Street, March 2020

Cork City Heritage Plan Call Out for Ideas, April 2020

The closing date for submissions for the new Heritage Plan of Cork City Council has been extended to Thursday 30th April.
 
Express your perspective on aspects of Cork City’s Heritage that you value and want to see understood, enhanced and celebrated.
 
What are the challenges to heritage and what solutions you think might work?
 
What ideas do you have for projects that you would like to see done in the city or that you or your group could carry out given the appropriate resources?
 
The information gathered will feed into Cork City Council’s Heritage Plan, which will guide the implementation of priority Heritage actions in Cork City over the next five years.
The closing date for comments is Thursday 30 April 2020
You can make a submission in the following way:
 
Use our online portal https://consult.corkcity.ie/
 
Email heritage@corkcity.ie
 
Or write to The Heritage Officer, Strategic and Economic Development Directorate, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork.
The current Cork City Heritage Plan is available to download from https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/services/arts-culture-heritage/heritage/heritage-plan.html
 
Douglas Street, Cork, April 2020

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

1045a. Picture of Inquest Jury of Tomás MacCurtain, 1920

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 23 April 2020
Remembering 1920: The Inquest Jury Speaks

 

   At the conclusion of the Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain on 17 April 1920, Chairman Coroner James McCabe thanked the jury for the great care and attention they had given the various witness interviews. The 14-man jury comprised: William J Barry (foreman), Daniel Barrett, Richard Barrett, Michael J Grace, David Hennessy, Harry Loreton, Patrick McGrath, Melville McWilliams, Florence O’Donoghue, Peter O’Donovan, Jeremiah O’Callaghan, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Tadgh O’Sullivan and Pádraig O’Sullivan. With the passing of time, the memory of several of the latter members has disappeared. Through searching through obituaries, I have constructed some info on five of the jury members.

William J Barry was the foreman and his obituary for 27 January 1953 in the Cork Examiner outlines that he was a secondary school teacher, William was a language teacher and taught at various schools in Cork City, as well as outside colleges. He became a Fianna Fáil member of Cork Corporation in 1945 and was Secretary to the Cork Fever Hospital Committee.

Patrick McGrath became an apprentice blacksmith and had his own smithy in Morgan Street in Cork City Centre. During 1920 he was an officer in the C Company, Second Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade and took part in various armed engagements in and around Cork City. When peace returned to Ireland, Patrick or Pa McGrath contented himself with following his trade of blacksmith. He also became interested in bodies such as the Old IRA Men’s Association and Fianna Fáil. He remained in the background for more than twenty years, known and loved by his own circle of friends, political and sporting acquaintances. His entry into the open political arena came through his service as Director of Elections in Cork City on two occasions in the 1940’s. In 1946 he won a seat through a bye-election to Dáil Éireann and retained his seat in the 1948, 1951 and in the 1954 General Election. He did not become a member of the Cork Corporation until 1950. Two years in 1952 later he was elected Lord Mayor and was Lord Mayor for four years.

Florence O’Donoghue was one of three brothers – Paddy and Jeremiah being the others – who in 1910, left their farm home at Killeen, Glenflesk, County Kerry and travelled to Cork City to seek their fortune. Their father was a car-man having established a road business between Glenflesk and the city. He transported butter by horse and cart over the mountains of Derrynasaggart into the city and brought home merchandise for the neighbouring farmers. Jeremiah passed away shortly after arriving in Cork. Paddy and Florence after apprenticeship established a drapery business in North Main Street under the name O’Donoghue Brothers. Sometime later they moved to Oliver Plunkett Street, then known as Old George’s Street and there opened another establishment.

  Just before 1914, Florence or Flor opened up a public house at 54 Thomas Davis Street in Blackpool. He still maintained an interest in the Oliver Plunkett Street business. Flor, now advanced in years, became interested in the Volunteer and Sinn Féin movement. Tomás MacCurtain appointed him Head of Communications of the Cork No.1 Brigade and later was prominent in the city in collecting money for the Dáil Éireann Loan schemes. Then came the murder of Lord Mayor Tomás Mac Curtain and Flor was summoned to sit on the jury. Afterwards Flor remained head of intelligence of the IRA during the Irish War on Independence.

Family notes left by Patrick O’Sullivan of Bantry and the Silver Key Public House in Ballinlough (thanks to his daughter Clare O’Sullivan Herlihy) outline that during the period from 1 April 1920 to 21 March 1921 he was operating with C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade. He was picked to take part in the funeral of Tomás McCurtain from Blackpool to City Hall and was also a member of the bodyguard at the lying in state.  Patrick was a member of the Volunteer firing party who in full uniform, fired the volley over his grave. He became a member of the inquiry into the murder of Tomas McCurtain acting on orders from his superior officer.

   Patrick noted: “The official Jury summoned by the RIC were evidently afraid to put in an appearance when the Coroner called them together. Commandant Jerome O’Donovan then took the initiative and selected a republican Jury. The inquest lasted three weeks and during that time we were constantly under the observation of the RIC until we were known by sight to every constable in the City. Consequently, after the inquest I was a marked man and suffered the usual handicap of notoriety at that time. Namely, constant, surprise raids on my digs in Wallace’s Avenue, until finally I was forced to go on the run completely in May 1920. Maddened by their repeated failure to catch me they raided my digs at night and when I wasn’t there, they lay in ambush hoping I’d return. They raided my digs again and snatched my belongings and ruined two suitcases of clothes, which I didn’t have time to remove. They told my landlady that they would riddle me on sight”.

Tadgh O’Sullivan was reared on a farm north of the village of Barraduff, Co. Kerry and was passionate in the study of Irish being inspired by his national school teacher. He joined the IRB and found himself in Cork City. As a volunteer and officer of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade, he was constantly on duty and participated in many major operations in the City. He participated in the attack on Farran RIC Barracks and also in the Barrack Street Ambush on 9 October 1920. On 19 April 1921, whilst coming out of a house in Douglas Street he was intercepted by the Black and Tans and shot down in the street. There is a plaque on the wall of the house in 82 Douglas Street and a monument in Rathmore on which he is remembered along with others.

If anyone has information on the jury members, I have flagged that have no information surviving on them, please get in contact with me at 087 655 3389 or email mccarthy_kieran@yahoo.com.

 

Caption:

1045a. Picture of Inquest Jury of Tomás MacCurtain, 1920; Back row: Daniel Barrett, David Hennessy, Pádraig O’Sullivan, Patrick McGrath, Peter O’Donovan, Thomas F O’Shaughnessy; Sitting: Richard Barrett, Jeremiah O’Callaghan, William J Barry (foreman), Michael J Grace, Florence O’Donoghue, Melville McWilliams, Harry Loreton, and inset Tadgh O’Sullivan (source: Cork City Library).