Patriotic Cork Residents’ Fight for Changing Street Names

As part of my commitment to covering local political events  going on around Cork city, this Thursday I attended a  meeting concerned with changing British names of Ireland streets and places into Irish ones. I had seen their banner around Cork for a month now, and was really curious about it .This event was organized by Independent candidate of People’s Convention Mr. Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, and was held in his office located at 99 Douglas Street.

What Went Down at the Meeting

The meeting began with Mr. Ó Cadhla explaining the importance of Irish people standing up for themselves and respecting themselves by taking action to put the names of celebrated Irish figures on the streets instead of British royalties and aristocrats who had colonized Ireland for a long time and had a hand in the calamitous Irish famine.

Different Views

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, independent candidate of People's Convention
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla meeting organizer and independent candidate of People’s Convention listens to meeting participants expressing their views

Mr. Ó Cadhla then, heard other citizens’ opinion and tried to engage everybody in the discussion. He emphasized the importance of Irish people learning their own history and acknowledging their own achievements. He expressed his frustrations over the name of “Victoria Road” in Cork, since Queen Victoria is historically known as “the Famine Queen” in Ireland. Other British street/place names that Mr. Ó Cadhla and people at the meeting were most upset about included: Albert Quay, Marlborough Street (which is named after the Duke of Marlborough involved in the 1690 siege of Cork and the massacre of city’s inhabitants), Wellington road, and so on.

The meeting participants believed that those places have been named by foreign forces who considered Irish people as their slaves. Although one man who insisted on his neutrality mentioned something about the naming being done by peoples’ representatives at that time, his point of view was challenged and discussed by others.

Cork Residents for Changing Street Names
A Concerned Cork resident expressed his different and challenging views
Cork Residents Demand Changing of Street Names
A meeting attendee expresses her views
Queen Victoria , Queen of Famine
A picture of Victoria Road sign in Cork City, Queen Victoria is known as ” the Queen of Famine” in Ireland

One of the participants also argued that if they would take down those name from Streets and places people might no longer remember a part of  Irish history ( regardless of its  negativity). In response to that, Mr. Ó Cadhla said that they could still keep those  names on plaques and such, but having them on the streets in high honor is unacceptable.

Mr. Ó Cadhla, also expressed his concerns about the demised sense of nationalism and patriotism in Ireland by mentioning that on the 17th of March which is Ireland’s national day , people of Ireland could be found anywhere in the world, except in Ireland. People also suggested names of Ireland’s celebrated figures such as well known mathematician and philosopher George Boole (who was actually of British nationality but spent a part of his life in Cork city and was the first Professor of Mathematics at the University College of Cork (UCC) at the time of his death,and was also married to an Irish woman) to replace negative British names.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla and his Son
Diarmaid Ó Cadhla and his son listening to meeting attendees
Marcus Mulvihill, Meeting Attendee
The meeting was a good opportunity for exchanging views and getting to know like minded people

Meeting’s Outcome

Cork Residents against British Street Names
One of the meeting’s attendees writes down his contact details

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Ó Cadhla and others vowed to gather round  again in the coming weeks or so, and left their contact details for further contact and planning. So, if you are a cork resident who is passionate for this cause, I would say joining this movement and helping it keeping its momentum, would not be a bad choice.

I have to thank Mr. Ó Cadhla and other people there for being kind enough to let me take their photographs. I am looking forward to follow up on their efforts for getting their message through.

 

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