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10 Apr 2018

Skehard Road Widening and Renewal Project, Update 2018

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   The Skehard Road widening and renewal project is a very important part of infrastructure for not just Blackrock and Mahon but also the south part of Cork city, according to Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy Phase 2 of the project from Parkhill Estate up to and including the Church Road Junction commenced construction in December 2017.

       30% of the work has been undertaken to date: Watermain renewal works (95% complete), Stone wall construction (70% complete), Footpath and duct network works (10% complete) are ongoing.

Outstanding items of work include the following: completion of the footpath and ducting network, carriageway realignment and reconstruction work, public lighting, undergrounding ESB network cables and removal of poles, resurfacing works, lining, signage and landscaping.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “Traffic disruption during the construction phase will be limited to the greatest possible extent with traffic sensitive work planned for the summer months. Phase 2 of the project is scheduled to be substantially complete by mid December 2018. Phase 3, which is the remainder of Skehard Road between Church Road Junction and CSO Junction, is scheduled to commence construction in mid 2019. The process of acquiring land to facilitate this phase of work is underway”.

9 Apr 2018

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 9 April 2018

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Question to CE:

To ask the CE about progress and time scales on the current Skehard Road works? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the City Council re-commits to the concept of having a playground on the Ursuline Convent grounds, as proposed in the original plans for the Blackrock Pier Regeneration project (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the road sign Convent Avenue, an iron plaque on Cork City Gaol heritage centre’s wall, be cleaned and painted (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

5 Apr 2018

McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition 2018

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    Cork’s young people are invited to participate in the tenth year of Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition. The auditions will take place on Sunday 22 April 2018 between 10am-4pm in the Lifetime Lab at the Old Cork Waterworks Lee Road, Cork City. There are no entry fees and all talents are valid for consideration. The final will be held on Sunday 6 May. There are two categories, one for primary school children and one for secondary school students. Individuals or groups can enter. Winners will be awarded a perpetual trophy and prize money of €150 (two by €150). The project is being organised and funded by Cllr Kieran McCarthy in association with Red Sandstone Varied Productions (RSVP).

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The talent competition is a community initiative. It encourages all young people to develop their talents and creative skills, to push forward with their lives and to embrace their community positively”.

Continuing Cllr McCarthy highlighted the strengths of the project; “Over the ten years of the project, many auditionees have passed through our doors – singing, acting and performing; we have tried to give young people pointers in developing their talents further; social inclusion is important to me; many are just taking the first step and many have carried on developing and enjoying their talent through local stage and performance schools; My team and I are very proud as well that several of our auditionees are now professional musicians, singers and even magicians with young careers burgeoning”. Further enquiries/ details on the Community Talent Competition can be acquired from the talent show producer (RSVP), Yvonne Coughlan at rsvpireland@gmail.com.

5 Apr 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 5 April 2018

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Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 5 April 2018

Stories from 1918: An Audience with J J Walsh


     This date one hundred years ago, 5 April 1918, under the auspices of the Cork Cumann na mBan Mr J J Walsh delivered an evening lecture entitled, “My Prison Experiences”, in Cork City Hall. There was a large audience and among those on the platform were – Lillie and Nora Connolly. Wife of 1916 leader James, Lillie, after the Rising, made rare appearances in public. Her daughter Nora Connolly was active in the Belfast Cumann na mBan. Under her command, Nora and nine other members of the Belfast Cumann came to Dublin to take part in the 1916 Rising.

     During the evening of 5 April performances consisting of vocal items, four hand reels and recitations were made. Then Sir Donald O’Callaghan, who presided, introduced JJ Walsh, who appeared in prison garb. J J Walsh gave an outline of the events of Easter week 1916. He described the prison experiences of himself and others; “If we had continued in Portland for another twelve months scarcely one of us would be alive. The mental torture was fearful, and if it had not been for the splendidly equipped library at Portland, I did not think it possible for one to retain my mental balance. During the hunger strike at Mountjoy our sufferings were terrible”.

    James Joseph Walsh’s obituary in the Cork Examiner on 4 February 1948 highlights he was born on 20 February 1880 in the townland of Rathroon, three miles south of Bandon and about midway between the villages of Kilbrittain and Ballinadee, His descendants were farmers and occupied the same lands for several generations. There were ten in the family, five boys and five girls.

    Up to the age of fifteen J J Walsh walked three miles every day to Bandon National School. Later through open competitive examination he entered for the Post Office Service. At the same examination a candidate named Patrick O’Hegarty secured first place. Years afterwards the two were destined to meet again, J J as first Postmaster General of the Irish Free State and Patrick O’Hegarty as Secretary of Post.

 James organised the Post Office sports meeting for the Cork International Exhibition of 1902-3. He took a great interest in the games of hurling and Gaelic football, and became a prominent member, and in a short time Chairman of the Cork County Board.

   Being a civil servant J J Walsh could take no overt part in the politics of the time of the first decade of the twentieth century. But when an official rule was relaxed, he and a few other interested civil servants were elected to Cork Corporation. As the industrial movement was non-political, he was able to join the Cork Association, and when the Irish Volunteers were formed he took a leading part in the new movement. After war was declared in 1914 disagreements arose amongst the volunteers as to the policy to be adopted, and there was a split. J J Walsh sided with the minority. J J was transferred from Cork Post Office to Bradford in Yorkshire. From there he wrote as a member of the Cork Corporation protesting against conferring the freedom of the city on the new Lord Lieutenant, Lord Wimborne. As a sequel to this, disciplinary action was taken. He departed from the Post Office Service. Under the Defence of the Realm regulations he was ordered to reside in County Down or Dublin City. He chose the latter and opened a tobacconist business in Blessington Street.

    J J Walsh’s shop became a rendezvous point for members of the American Alliance of the AOH, a body antagonistic to the Irish AOH, known as Board of Erin. There were not many members, but they agreed to form a volunteer body of their own. This appeared on proclamations issued by the Government around Easter Week as the Hibernian Rifles. J J was not in the inner circle of the Volunteer movement, but obviously was aware what was going on Easter Monday morning. He arrived at his shop in uniform and with a rifle. He went out to join the rising and was in the battalion, commanded by Oscar Traynor. The Volunteers were ordered to disperse and to re-assemble at 3pm. J J rounded up members of the American Alliance and mustered about thirty. That evening they entered the Post Office and were placed under the command of James Connolly.

   After the rising in Dublin J J Walsh was taken prisoner by the British authorities. Tried by courtmartial, he was sentenced to death but was reprieved. After terms of imprisonment and internment in England he was released in August 1917. He continued active in the political sphere. Following a speech delivered in County Cavan, he was arrested, and tried by courtmartial at Belfast. A sentence of five years’ penal servitude was imposed, but while awaiting deportation to England, J J Walsh and other prisoners went on hunger strike. It was Tomas Ashe died that he and others were released.

   At the 1918 General Elector, J J Walsh was elected as one of the two Members of Parliament for Cork City. Arrested in Cork in 1920, J J Walsh found himself in Parkhurst Prison with some other Corkmen, including Mr P O’Keeffe. There he remained until the Truce, when all the, Sinn Féin and Volunteer prisoners were released.


940a. Liam De Róiste and JJ Walsh, 1918, from Cork City and County Archives’, Voices of the Many, Local Archives from Cork, 1914-1916 (2016)

940b. Lillie Connolly, wife of James Connolly, who came to Cork with her daughter Nora in April 1918 (source: Cork City Library)


940b. Lillie Connolly, wife of James Connolly who came to Cork in April 1918

3 Apr 2018

EU Local Event, Cork City with Cllr Kieran McCarthy

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A Cork citizen’s dialogue was hosted by City Councillor and Member of the European Committee of the Regions Kieran McCarthy (IE/EA) under EU’s ‘Reflecting on Europe’ campaign

The City of Cork hosted a citizen’s dialogue in St. Peters Church Tuesday 27 March under the title ‘Innovative Minds and Real Capitals – European Regional Cities and the future Europe’.

The event was part of the Reflecting on Europe campaign, an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions launched in March 2016 to give citizens a voice in shaping the political debate on the future of Europe.

    Councillor McCarthy opened the debate calling local and regional authorities to support citizen’s engagement. “Citizens have a key role to play in our cities’ transition towards more sustainable, healthier and inclusive communities. The role of citizenship should not be underestimated but encouraged”, said Councillor McCarthy.

“We have a great responsibility to bring Europe closer to our citizens. Europe has a role to champion social inclusion more, to invest in community building, work on developing people’s skills and make citizens more engaged. There is an ongoing debate on the future of cohesion and social funds in Europe today. These are at risk and we must together ensure its continuity”, added Councillor McCarthy.

    A panel composed of local project leaders (Mad About Cork, Cork Cycling Campaign, Meithal Mara and Red Sandstone Varied Productions) briefly presented some ongoing initiatives such as a campaign to promote daily cycling and a community initiative to connect people through arts projects.

  Attendees debated around some of the issues most discussed in urban areas today such as the appropriateness of banning cars from city centres to give space back to pedestrians.

   Attendees expressed concerns on how the city communicates on new initiatives, as levels of engagement in public consultations remain repeatedly low. On the question, do you think you have a voice in Europe, some recognize local politicians are able to convey their messages at the EU level yet they remain uncertain on its impact.

  The event was the occasion to present some of the results of the Reflecting on Europe survey in Ireland.

  When asked about the main problems their city or region faces, Irish respond mobility and public transport (27%), unemployment (25%), youth policies (25%), environment (10%), integration of migrants (8%) and security (3%).

     Irish believe that the EU is the most suitable level of government to deal with security, terrorist threats and the environment. National is the level of government Irish rely most on (42%), followed by the EU (34%), their city (17%) and region (8%).

   A large majority of Irish (71%) believes there is not enough solidarity between European nations. 27% suggest EU countries should show more solidarity by jointly tackling the negative impact of the economic and financial crisis. 25% believe reducing inequalities between richer and poorer should be subject to more solidarity. 20% think Europe should foster cooperation to jointly face the consequences of migration and the refugee crisis. 20% believe EU member states should show greater acceptance of the diversities amongst them.

  Since March 2016, members of the European Committee of the Regions have organised over 140 citizens’ dialogues in 21 Member States. Local debates have actively involved more than 15 000 citizens. Insights from local events and those of the Reflecting on Europe survey will be gathered in an upcoming opinion to be shared amongst EU institutions after its adoption later this year.

29 Mar 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 March 2018

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939a. Map of the campus of University College Cork, 1919


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 March 2018

Stories from 1918: Towards an Independent University


     Late March and early April 1918 coincided with the ambition of University College Cork being pursued across newspapers such as the Freeman’s Journal and the Cork Examiner. Under the presidency of Sir Bertram Windele and through the governing body of University College, Cork, they published a pamphlet in the last week of March 1918 highlighting that the time was ripe for demanding an independent University for Munster in the city, and based, of course, on the existing College. The movement was initiated for having an independent University, similar in its constitution to Universities in Leeds, Manchester, and other cities in Great Britain.

   The year 1918 was exactly eighty years since an independent claim was first proposed by Cork Corporation at the instigation of the late Sir Thomas Wyse. The Corporation of Cork also supported a statement made by Councillor J Hooper, afterwards MP. His paper/ speech was afterwards published “bv order of the Council”.

    In 1902 and 1906, Cork Corporation passed resolutions in favour of the project. In 1904 and 1908 two large public meetings of the citizens urged autonomy for Cork in the impending University settlement. Presidents of UCC Sir Rowland Blennerhaisset and his successor Sir Bertram Windle were consistent advocates of an independent southern university. Under the Irish Universities Act 1908, the name Queen’s College Act was changed to University College Cork.

    The National University of Ireland (NUI) is a federal system of constituent universities and recognised colleges set up under the Irish Universities Act, 1908. In 1918, the Cork College was still but an appanage of the National University, and a large amount of its management of academic business generally was pursued in Dublin. Frequent meetings were in Dublin, with much weary railway travelling; copious correspondence with all of its possibilities of misunderstandings and friction and clashes of local interests. The Cork university president spent some thirty days each year in attendance at meetings in Dublin.

     Under a charter and statutes, an overwhelming majority of the representatives of the National University’s central Council resided in Dublin, which, therefore, had complete control in many important matters and over rival colleges. Dublin College had seventeen representatives, Cork-seven, Galway-five, the Crown nominated four (all of whom represented Dublin and three of whom were members of the Governing Body of Dublin College).

    The Board of Governors highlighted that the number of students attending the College was too small, half as many as those attending the university in Belfast. The number of students in Cork University was increasing yearly, and the constituting of it as independent College would be a distinct benefit to students. In 1918 Cork had 550 students (110 of whom were women), being a greater number of students than that of Belfast College at the time it received its charter.

    According to the Board of Governors, public financial support existed. Apart from the scholarships provided by University College Cork. more than £4,000 per annum was supplied for this purpose by various public authorities in Munster. Since the foundation of the College, gifts in money and kind to a value exceeded £105,000, more than two-thirds of which had been given during 1908-1918.

    Since 1908 the College had made great advances in buildings, in its range of instruction, and in the number of its teachers. The medical buildings and the engineering school had been considerably improved, and new laboratories for physics and chemistry had been constructed. At the time of the passing of the Universities Act there were seventeen professors, ten lecturers and eight demonstrators, whereas in 1917 there, were 33 professors, 23 lecturers and ten demonstrators. A Faculty of Commerce had been founded (in association with the Incorporated Cork Chamber of Commerce), as well as a Department of Dentistry. With the aid of a grant from the Cork Corporation evening lectures for working men had been instituted in connection with the Workers’ Education Association.

      As a member of the Board of Governors, The Lord Mayor of Cork Thomas C Butterfield wrote publicly in March 1918; “As an old student of the College, and as Lord Mayor, I should like the change to take place for I am certain that owing to the great changes, which are likely to take place in Cork in the immediate future it will be to the advantage of the people of Munster that the College should have a free hand in working out its own destiny, so as to conform with the changing conditions, which is at present impossible except to a limited degree”.

     At the meeting of the Cork Corporation on Friday 12 April 1918, the Lord Mayor presided, the City Council unanimously adopted the following resolution. “That this meeting approves of the action which, the Governing Body of the University College is taking with the object of obtaining a Charter which will secure for Munster a separate and independent University. That we believe the increasing popularity of the University College as a teaching centre justifies us in stating that the educational requirements of Munster will be best served by the proposed change”. Copies of the resolution were to be sent to the Prime Minister, the Lord Lieutenant, the Chief Secretary, all the members of Parliament for Munster, and to all public boards in Munster except Clare”. It was to take to 1997 before a revised Universities Act gave UCC full University Independence.


939a. Map of the campus of University College Cork, 1919, from Cork: Its Chamber and Commerce (source: Cork City Library)

939b. Photo of the quadrangle of University College Cork, early twentieth century, from Cork: Its Chamber and Commerce (source: Cork City Library)


939b. Photo of the quadrangle of University College Cork, early twentieth century

26 Mar 2018

Kieran’s Question to CE, Cork City Council Meeting, 26 March 2018

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To ask the CE about progress in unlocking the NAMA lands of formerly Howard Holdings in Cork’s Docklands? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

23 Mar 2018

The Friar’s Walk Historical Walking Tour, Saturday 24 March 2018

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Saturday, 24 March 2018, The Friar’s Walk, with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Callanan’s Tower and Greenmount area; meet at Red Abbey tower, off Douglas Street, 12noon (free, duration: two hours) in association with Cork Lifelong Learning Festival 2018.

22 Mar 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 22 March 2018

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938a. Victoria Hospital, Present Day


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 22 March 2018

Stories from 1918: Tales from the Victoria Hospital


     This week, one hundred years ago, Cork Church of Ireland Bishop Charles Dowse presided at the annual general meeting of the Victoria Hospital, which was held at the institution. The Victoria Hospital was originally founded as “The County and City of Cork Hospital for the Diseases of Women and Children” which was opened on Union Quay on 4 September 1874. It moved to 46 Pope’s Quay on 31 October 1876 and to its present site on Infirmary Road on 16 September 1885. In 1901 its name was changed to “The Victoria Hospital for Women and Children”. Male patients were first admitted in 1914.

     On 17 August 1914 the Hospital was registered under the Companies Acts, 1908 and 1913 under the name of “The Victoria Hospital, Cork (Incorporated)”. Reading the memorandum of association, the objects of the hospital were to provide a house or hospital for the reception, maintenance, medical and surgical treatment of Women and Children during sickness, and to furnish advice, and where possible medicine, to those who could not be admitted into Hospital. The Council or overseers of the Hospital comprised members of the Protestant faith. They could set apart rooms in the Hospital for the reception of private and semi-private patients, as well as wards for the reception of ordinary patients. They could make changes for the use and treatment as the Council wished and oversaw the payment in whole or in part from or on behalf of any patient.

    Soon into the first couple of months of World War I, October 1914, ward spaces were assembled for the treatment of wounded soldiers. They were brought to Cork by the 562-bed hospital ship HMS Oxfordshire, which was overflowing with wounded by the heart of the war years. Recent work by UCD’s Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland discovered that during World War I some 20,000 soldiers, principally from Ireland in the first place, were transported home and distributed between several military hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Belfast. They were housed also in wards in 40 civilian hospitals in Belfast, Cork and Dublin to provide accommodation and medical treatment for soldiers Patient beds were financed through a subvention from the War Office and, after the war and into the 1920s, the Ministry of Pensions.

    The Victoria Hospital received fifty-five pounds from the War Department for treating the wounded soldiers. Compared to ordinary paying patients, this was not huge. The Council of the hospital gave an undertaking that they would at any time take in 30 soldiers and six officers. By 1916, the figure had risen to 130 cases.

   Some 3,300 Irish doctors and medical students were involved in the war, of whom 243 died. The Victoria Hospital was deprived of the services of Dr C B Pearson and Dr R C Cummins, both of whom were serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

   Lady Barrymore or Dorothy Elizabeth Bell of Fota House, funded the provision of a Rontgen Ray apparatus or an x-ray machine, which was greatly needed to assess bone damage. The year 1914 coincided with Polish born chemist Marie Curie developing radiological cars to support soldiers injured in World War I. The cars would allow for rapid X-ray imaging of wounded soldiers, so battlefield surgeons could quickly and more accurately operate.

   At the annual general meeting for 1918, and as outlined in the Cork Examiner on 25 March 1918 the Honorary Secretary’s report stated that the wounded men were not being sent direct from France to Ireland. The secretary regretted that so little use has been made during 1917 of the military wards; “it was the keen desire of all connected with the hospital to do everything possible in caring for as great a number of these men as space would permit; but during the past year very few convoys have come to Cork, and there does not appear to be any probable increase as wounded men are no longer”. The soldiers’ ward, which was opened in October 1914, was closed in September of 1917.

    In March 1918, the Cork Examiner outlined that the annual report stating that the hospital made a slight loss over the year. An increase over the year of £92 in the cost of provisions was not deemed what was described as a “very heavy item” but the cost of maintenance per patient had increased. In 1913 the maintenance cost was £78 per patient, rose in 1916 to £85, and in 1917 jumped up to the alarming figure of £106. The number of patients treated during the year was – 2,728 extern and 367 intern of whom 45 were soldiers and 76 free cases.

    During the year the Victoria Hospital received notification of a generous legacy which had been left to the hospital by the late Mr Gumbleton, consisting of £1,000 in cash, and some valuable china, which had since been sold for between £300 and £400. Votes of thanks were passed to the committee of the Cork Hospital Saturday Society and Cork Hospital Aid Society for grants received, to the ladies and gentlemen who contributed to the hospital funds by personal subscription to all those who assisted in organising entertainments for the benefit of the hospital, and to Lady Carbery and the ladies of the Tabitha Guild, who devoted so much time to make clothing for the young patients.

 Historical walking tour: Saturday, 24 March 2018, The Friar’s Walk, with Kieran; discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Callanan’s Tower and Greenmount area; meet at Red Abbey tower, of Douglas Street, 12noon (free, duration: two hours) in association with Cork Lifelong Learning Festival 2018.



938a. Victoria Hospital present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

938b. Map of the grounds of the Victoria Hospital and South Infirmary, c.1910 (source: Cork City Library)


938b. Map of the grounds of South Infirmary, c.1910 - Copy

20 Mar 2018

Kieran’s EU Local Event, Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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Kieran's EU Local Event, 27 March 2018