Category Archives: Kieran’s Council Work

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 21 April 2022

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 21 April 2022

Journeys to a Free State: Disbanding the Royal Irish Constabulary

The establishment of the Irish Constabulary was begun by the Irish Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1836. Previous to this, the Irish police force at the time of the Act of Union of 1800 was still comprised only of small units of sub-constables. Originally, the prime role of the Royal Irish Constabulary was upholding the peace, which involved the suppression of armed rebellion, religious riots or agrarian disturbances. Their position was extended when it took on the functions of the Revenue Police, which involved “inquiries on behalf of departments of state, collected agricultural statistics, enforced the fishery laws and performed a variety of duties under the laws relating to food and drugs, weights and measures, explosives and petroleum”.

In 1867, the Irish Constabulary was renamed the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). After 1916 it faced the effect of the violence from the Irish War of Independence. 

Following the formation of the Irish Free State in early 1922, on 31 March 1922, the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary began in southern Ireland. They were to be replaced by the creation of the Irish Free State’s Civic Guard. Approximately 7,000 RIC men, excluding officers, awaited disbandment in Ireland with many waiting to evacuate barracks in various parts of the country. Of these, between 4,000 and 5,000 were focussed in the Dublin and Kildare area.

 Britain’s National Archives in Kew, London records that pensions were paid by the Paymaster General in London, and the service records of members of the force passed to the Home Office which were subsequently transferred to The National Archives. An annual sum of £1,500,000 was put aside for their pensions. This sum was guaranteed by the British parliament and, under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, all or part of it was to be provided by the Irish government.

In Cork, in early April 1922, there was ongoing fallout from the murder of a former member of the RIC who was shot dead on a crowded Cork City street on 25 March. Retired William Gloster, a former sergeant, returning to his home at Elizabeth Fort was passing through the southern end of South Main Street at 1.30 pm when a group of young men shot him at least six times.

On 12 April 1922, the handing over of the city’s RIC Barracks began. There was considerable activity in the vicinity of the Bridewell and Tuckey Street when both those barracks, as well as the annexe on the latter, on the Grand Parade, were handed over by the RIC to an officer of the IRA from Dublin. At 11am, District Inspector Riordan, Union Quay attended at the Bridewell, where he was met an IRA officer from Dublin, and some local IRA officers. There, with the assistance of Head Constable Nestor and Sergeant McCoy, the station sergeant, an inventory of the property being left was made. By 11am the RIC walked out, leaving an IRA guard in charge.

The party then proceeded to Tuckey Street, where District Inspector Riordan again handed over the barracks to the IRA officer. Then the annexe on the outer side of Tuckey Street, and overlooking the Grand Parade was visited, and a like process was gone through. Large crowds remained outside both barracks during the process of evacuation, but there were no disturbances. The police from both barracks then went to Union Quay.

The other three barracks were evacuated the following day on 13 April – the barracks an Empress Place on Summerhill North, Elizabeth Fort and Union Quay, with its annexe at Moore’s Hotel at Morrison’s Island. These were handed over to the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan.

Union Quay took more than two hours to complete the checking of the inventory before it was officially handed over by Captain Moran to the Lord Mayor. It was a large spacious building of modern brick, built and capable of affording accommodation to upwards of 150 men. Before they were completely departed at Union Quay. Constable Lowry, the men’s representative, approached the pressmen present, and said he had desired on behalf of the old city force to express their gratitude to the people of Cork. Some of them has been in the force for over 30 years.

From early morning, the RIC were busily engaged in removing luggage to the City’s Custom House Quay, where the steamer, SS Lady Wicklow, was berthed. The vessel was specially chartered for the conveyance of RIC members to Dublin. The steamer hosted 20 officers, 400 police, with all their luggage and equipment on board.

At the quayside, City Councillor and Home Rule supporter Sir John Scott was present and noted that he had been present when the barracks were handed over to the Lord Mayor for Cork Corporation. He noted that he had experienced a feeling of pleasure and also of regret – pleasure of meeting once more members of the RIC, and regret when he came to think that they were leaving the city. Continuing he paid a fine tribute to the officers and members of the force, and wished then “every good luck, long life and prosperity in the future”. At the close of Sir John Scott’s address, a policeman who said he was of the oldest members of the force, expressed thanks, and called for three cheers for Scott. 

In mid-May 1922 disbandment commenced at Cork’s Victoria Barracks.


1147a. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan receiving the keys of the Union Quay barracks, Cork, 13 April 1922 (W D Hogan Collection, National Library of Ireland).

Kieran’s Press, Tom Scott & Daly’s Bridge, 19 April 2022

19 April 2022, “Several of us, engineers, local councillors, local media, promoted the story of the bridge until we got funding for the repairs, and now someone with this huge international social media presence has recognised that. The fact that it’s had over one million views in just 24-hours is incredible, said Cllr McCarthy”, Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral as 1.2m watch video shot by YouTube star Tom ScottCork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral as 1.2m watch video shot by YouTube star Tom Scott (

19 April 2022, “The video, entitled ‘The Bridge that must Legally Wobble’, features stunning drone footage of the beloved bridge in addition to comments from local historian and Independent Cork city councillor, Kieran McCarthy”, WATCH: Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral thanks to YouTuber,  WATCH: Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral thanks to YouTuber (

McCarthy: Third Draft of New Cork City Development Plan Out to Public Consultation, April 2022

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed “Our City, Our Future”, third draft of Cork City Development Plan, which has gone out to public consultation It which provides an overarching framework to help shape the transformation of the City over the next six years by supporting the creation of 20,000 homes and 33,000 jobs.  

Cllr McCarthy noted: “It provides an exciting and opportunities driven transformative blueprint for Cork as the city sets out upon an exciting phase of growth and change – with sustainability, quality of life, social inclusion, and climate resilience at the plan’s core.  This is the first City Development Plan to include the new city areas such as Douglas, Donnybrook and Rochestown taken in under the 2019 city boundary extension. So there has been a chance to consolidate thinking on improving the quality of life not just in those areas but also in the inner suburbs of Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon and South Docklands”.

 At a meeting of Cork City Council on 15 March 2022, the Elected Members considered the Draft City Development Plan and the Chief Executive’s Report on submissions received.  It was resolved at that meeting by the Elected Members of Cork City Council to amend the Draft Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028.

 Cork City Council Chief Executive, Ann Doherty said: “This next phase of public consultation follows widespread listening and engagement with stakeholders in the first and second rounds of public consultation. I’d like to thank everyone who made a submission to date. We have engaged with a broad church of stakeholders reflecting the diversity of Cork City and the work of the Elected Members on the ground in our city’s communities and this engagement has been integral to the whole process.”

 Cork City Council invites submissions on the Proposed Alterations to the Draft Development Plan. This is the third stage of formal public consultations. Submissions can be made online at 

The Draft Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028 is available to view at

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 14 April 2022

1146a. Mary MacSwiney TD, 1921 (Source: Houses of the Oireachtas Archive).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 14 April 2022

Journeys to a Free State: A Civil War Looms

By mid-April 1922, tensions between the pro and anti-Treaty sides intensified further. Words such as “civil war” began to creep into speeches of the anti-Treaty side. The first acts of disobedience of Irish Free State law also occurred. This was the beginning of the Irish Civil War. On 14 April 1922, about 200 anti-Treaty IRA militants, with Rory O’Connor as their spokesman, occupied the Four Courts in Dublin.

From 1919 to 1921, Dublin based Rory O’Connor was Director of Engineering of the IRA. On 26 March 1922, Rory was one of the anti-Treaty officers of the IRA that hosted a convention in Dublin, in which they rejected the Treaty and renounced the power of Dáil Éireann. However, they were willing to discuss an approach forward.

The convention met again on 9 April. This time they set up a new army constitution and put the army under a newly elected executive of sixteen, that would select an army council and headquarters staff. Rory was one of the sixteen and within five days of the new constitution, the Four Courts were seized. They also took other smaller buildings in Dublin deemed as being connected with the former British administration, such as the Ballast Office and the Freemason’s Hall. The main aim was to incite British troops, who had not departed the county yet, into confronting them. There was a hope that the war with Britain would restart and galvanise the pro and anti-treaty sides together with a common purpose.

As described by the Cork Examiner, small crowds of curious onlookers initially gathered over the weekend of 15 and 16 April in the neighbourhood and beguiled their time inspecting the sandbag defences and timber barricades in the windows and at the entrances of the Four Courts. In several of the windows overlooking the quays loopholes had been made by smashing the glass, and the apertures were partly filled by stacks of books. A stand-off began, which was not resolved until the shelling of the building by Irish Free State Troops began on 28 June. Two days later a large explosion destroyed the building, leading to the surrender of the garrison.

On Sunday 16 April, in a speech delivered by Cork TD Mary MacSwiney at the Mountain Chapel (Ballinhassig) she declared that the people of Ireland could not go into the British Empire and to do so would be a disgrace to every man who ever died for Ireland. The audience was composed of the congregation that attended the 10.30am Mass. Leaflets were distributed at the church gate, recalling the events of 1916, and declaring that “the Republic lived on and was in 1918 constitutionally established by the free vote of the Irish people, and was maintained by the IRA in spite of all the forces England could put in the field”. The pamphlet continued: “Easter Week is with us again. We now celebrate the sixth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic, but to-day you are asked to disestablish the Republic; to take, an oath of allegiance to England’s King and to come into the British Empire”. Finally, the pamphlet asked: “Will you do it?” and concluded with the admonition: “Remember 1916”.

Miss MacSwiney, who had a cordial reception, said that in December 1921, two weeks before, the Treaty was signed, she spoke in the village of Ballinhassig. She noted then what she believed that not one single Irishman would accept compromise, and that Ireland’s honour was safe in the hands of the delegates who went to London. She then believed in them. She felt that they went to London to try to find a way to peace with honour, but not to give away the Republic of Ireland that the men of Easter Week died to establish. She deemed that those men gave away the Republic and that they had told the people that they got the last ounce that England would give, and that the alternative was “immediate and terrible war”. Mary advocated that Britain was fighting a war in Egypt and in India, and that they had no money to follow through on the war element.

Referencing Irish patriots of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Mary commented on what they stood for; “If we allow Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith and the rest of the men who were trying to turn down the Republic to establish a government in this country they would have to imprison, and perhaps to torture and to kill the men and women who stood where Tone and Mitchell and Davis and the men of 1916 stood, for these would not go into the British Empire with their heads or their hands up. They were going to remain citizens of the Irish Republic, and they would not allow that to be turned down except over their dead bodies”.

Mary wished to advise Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith to say to British Prime Minister Lloyd George: “We will not have civil war in our country. We believe that your Treaty is good, and we might have worked it, but it is not worth civil war, and we won’t risk that. That was what honourable men would say, for there could be no peace which included a Governor-General in this country and an oath of allegiance to an English king.

Mary appealed to the people to stand true to the Republic for which so many great men had died. They had only to stand true for a little while longer, and they would win. Concluding she noted: “As sure as England tried to impose on them a Governor-General or an oath of allegiance the Irish would stand against it. Where England had interests they would destroy them. They would fight her in England, fight her in Ireland, and fight her all the world over until she came to terms with the Irish Republic”.


1146a. Mary MacSwiney TD, 1921 (Source: Houses of the Oireachtas Archive).

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 11 April 2022

Question to CE:

To ask the CE for an update on the repair of the bicycle hire station on Morrison’s Island by the College of Commerce? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).


That an urban animation scheme be prepared for and created for Robert Street (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That Cork City Council calls upon the Minister of Housing to debate and secure that in the private housing market vendors are obliged to supply a current engineer’s status report to potential buyers, and that vendors are obliged to provide evidence of ownership prior to the house being placed on the market; that these latter measures be implemented in order to limit the exposure and costs of buyers in the private housing market (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 7 April 2022

1145a. Picture of Upnor, Cork Harbour, c.1922 (picture: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 7 April 2022

Journeys to a Free State: The Capture of the Upnor

The turbulence behind the Pro-Treaty and Anti-Treaty sides took a darker turn when across February, March and April 1922, the IRA, particularly Anti-Treaty elements, began to seize sizable amounts of weapons from evacuating British forces.

On 29 March 1922, the Upnor, which was a British arms ship, was captured by members of the Cobh IRA company. It was departing Cork Harbour with its second load of arms, which amounted to 400 rifles, 40 machines guns, hundreds of thousands of rounds of .303 ammunition and numerous crates of high explosive. A plan was devised to capture the ship. Michael Burke, Officer in Command of Cobh IRA wrote an account of the raid on the ship.

In March 1922, Michael was in Cork attending a parade in honour of the late Tomás MacCurtain when he was informed that the Brigade Officer in Command, Seán Hegarty, wanted to see him before he returned to Cobh. He met him and the Brigade Staff (Cork No I Brigade) when he was told that a British War Department vessel, named Upnor, was landing warlike stores in Haulbowline for delivery at Woolwich Arsenal. Michael was told to make arrangements for her capture at sea. After her capture she was to be taken to Ballycotton where she would be unloaded. The Brigade would arrange for the unloading and transport of the cargo.

Michael was also advised to contact one of his men in Haulbowline who would let him know when the Upnor was putting to sea. He was then to phone the All-For-Ireland Club, Emmet Place, Cork where the Brigade Staff were standing by. He outlines in his account; “Returning to Cobh, I detailed a man to get in touch with our representative in Haulbowline and inform him that he was to send me word when the Upnor was ready to leave, whilst towing a barge. I then organised a crew to man the boat which was to proceed after the Upnor. Several of the men I recruited were not members of the IRA”.

A week or so elapsed and then word was sent that on 29 March the Upnor was sailing at 11am that day. She was known to carry hundreds of rifles, machine guns and many hundred boxes of ammunition, Verey lights and suchlike war stores. Michael got in touch with Brigade HQ immediately and soon a car came from Cork with about fifteen Cork IRA men, amongst whom were Mick Murphy, Tom Crofts and ‘Sando’ Donovan, all Brigade Officers. Mick Murphy carried a Lewis gun.

With the Cork men was a sea captain named Collins who was to take over the captaincy of the Upnor when she was captured. He was not an IRA man. Arrangements previously made to commandeer a boat to follow the Upnor to sea did not materialise but luckily the tugboat Warrior had berthed at Deepwater Quay, Cobh that day about noon.

Michael and his crew boarded her and found the captain had gone ashore. Putting his own crew aboard they went in search of the captain. He describes: “We could not put to sea until we located him; if we put to sea and he returned to the quay to find his boat missing he would report the fact to the Admiralty and the alarm would be given”. Michael describes that they searched hotels and shipping offices in the town and eventually found him in the very last office we tried. They took him prisoner and placed him under an armed guard in the Rob Roy Hotel.

The time was now gone 2pm and the Upnor had at least two hours or more of a start on them. Michael and his crew gave chase. He describes: “We got aboard the Warrior with Captain Collins in charge of her and made for the open sea. Our lads worked so hard on the engines that the original crew, who were aboard, were afraid the boilers would burst and they offered to do the job themselves. We agreed to this”.

Leaving Cobh Harbour Michael told Captain Collins to strike a course for Waterford. He had no idea of what was afoot and did as he was told. When they got outside the harbour there was no sign of the Upnor so he asked the Captain to alter course for Portsmouth. He did this. They sailed on the Portsmouth course for several hours and just as dusk was falling, they sighted the Upnor and her escort of two armed trawlers.

The trawlers were about two miles from the Upnor and in front of the Upnor. She was making slow speed as she was towing a barge. Michael describes that they closed in on her; “One of our lads shouted to her captain to stop, saying we had an important message for the captain at the same time waving an official looking envelope. She stopped. We lowered a boat and a few of us went aboard her. We produced our guns and held up the captain and any of the crew in sight. Mick Murphy ordered the captain, at the point of a Lewis gun, to leave the bridge”.

Meanwhile the Warrior had pulled alongside the Upnor and a further party of lads came aboard the latter. Darkness had now fallen. They were from thirty to forty miles off the Irish coast and the British trawler escort had gone ahead oblivious of the fact that the Upnor with its precious cargo had changed hands. The journey to Ballycotton was uneventful. Michael details: “We tied up at the pier at about 4am on 30 March 1922 and the task of unloading commenced. There were upwards of one hundred lorries of all kinds and the same number of men, all from the Cork Brigade, waiting to unload and take away the cargo and it was not until about 6pm that the last lorry left the pier”.

Just as they were preparing to leave Ballycotton on the last lorry a grey shape loomed up at sea. It was the British man-of-war searching for the missing Upnor. Apparently the Upnor’s escorts tried to make contact with her and failing to do so informed the British naval authorities that something was amiss.


1145a. Picture of Upnor, Cork Harbour, c.1922 (picture: Cork City Library).

Cllr McCarthy’s Historical Walking Tours Return

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is to restart his free historical walking tours during the month of April. This month’s tours will be of South Docklands, Fitzgerald’s Park, and The Marina. Cllr McCarthy noted; “It’s been a long wait since the last walking tours I conducted for the general public. It’s been a long two and a half years. In the meantime, I have pursued more research of some of my area tours and have posted them up under my revised history trails section on my Corkheritage. ie website”.

“My Marina tour is one I have tried to sharpen and get more information on and reflect more on its development. The three areas I am re-starting with are all relatively close to each other, but do have their own unique sense of place, their own cultural and built heritage, their own historic angles, and add their own stories to how the city as a whole came into being”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Full details of Kieran’s April tours are below, 

▪ Saturday 9 April 2022, Cork South Docklands; Discover the history of the city’s docks, from quayside stories to the City Park Race Course and Albert Road; meet at Kennedy Park, Victoria Road, 2pm, as part of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, duration: two hours, no booking required). 

  • Sunday 10 April 2022, Fitzgerald’s Park: The People’s Park, meet at band stand, 2pm, in association with Rebound Arts Festival and as part of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, duration: 90 minutes, no booking required). 
  • Saturday 16 April 2022, The Marina; Discover the history of the city’s promenade, from forgotten artefacts to ruinous follies; meet at western end adjacent Shandon Boat Club, The Marina, 2pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required). 

Kieran’s Press, Quay Wall Repair Update, 1 April 2022

1 April 2022, “In February, Independent Councillor Kieran McCarthy warned that damaged quay wall by the South Gate Bridge would need to be repaired urgently ahead of any construction work on the events centre, City Hall engineers attend site of quay wall damage in Cork”, City Hall engineers attend site of quay wall damage in Cork, City Hall engineers attend site of quay wall damage in Cork (