Activists looking to remove the names of British monarchs from Cork’s streets are upping their campaign painting over the name Victoria on a number of city street signs.
Political and Irish language activist Diarmaid Ó Cadhla said that the group wants to honour local and national heroes instead of British ‘artistocrats and criminals.’ The group has criticised the naming of Cork’s newly unveiled Victorian Quarter, which includes MacCurtain Street and nearby streets.
This morning, members of the group painted over the name Victoria on street signs on the Victoria Road.
“The group are engaging in Civil Disobedience to remove Victoria’s name, stating that this is necessary in order to respect the memory of the millions who starved and were dispossessed under her reign,” Mr Ó Cadhla said.
The group has also criticised the naming of Cork’s newly unveiled Victorian Quarter, which includes MacCurtain Street and nearby streets.
The area was named after the Victorian-age buildings in the area, though Mr Ó Cadhla has criticised the connections to Queen Victoria, who ruled Britain at the time of the famine. He said the group has put together a proposal that deals with the issue without erasing Cork’s history.
The group has hit out at the Lord Mayor of Cork for refusing to meet with them in recent weeks.
“When it comes to Victoria, it is glaringly obvious. There are mass graves in Cork with tens of thousands of people who died under her rule. We should remember the rule of these criminals and aristocrats in a more fitting manner.
“What does it say about us as a city? Do we have nobody worthy of commemoration?”
Members of the group will meet this evening to decide on their next course of action. A public meeting will then take place next Wednesday, February 8. Mr Ó Cadhla said, “People are suggesting civil disobedience, everything from ripping down the signs to plastering over them. Nothing has been decided yet.”
He hit out at the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill, for declining to meet with the group.
“We have been writing to City Hall since December looking to get a meeting with the Lord Mayor.”
Mr Ó Cadhla said the group have been redirected to the city’s roads division, which is responsible for street names.
“That’s not good enough. The Lord Mayor is meant to be above politics — he isn’t obliged to meet with us, but if he won’t meet people, what is he Lord Mayor for?
“It’s very offensive that he would dismiss us. To be snubbed by City Hall is not good enough.”
The Lord Mayor rejected the claims he ‘snubbed’ the group. Mr Cahill said, “We responded to both letters that we received explaining that the process of naming roads comes under the roads directorate, not the Lord Mayor’s office. “It is a long and complicated procedure and there is no value in me meeting with him because I can’t tell him anything different to the roads department.”
This article first appeared in the Evening Echo.