A row has erupted over the branding of Cork’s MacCurtain St as part of the Victorian Quarter ahead of War of Independence centenary commemorations next year.
The centenary of the election of the former lord mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, after whom the street is named, will be commemorated at a special meeting of Cork City Council on January 30, city councillors were told last night.
However, Sinn Féin and the Workers’ Party described the branding of the street as the heart of the Victorian Quarter as an insult to MacCurtain’s memory. They called on city officials to strike all references to ‘Victorian Quarter’ from all official council documents and literature, especially ahead of the year of commemorations.
Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said:
I believe that this is a fierce insult to the memory of MacCurtain and his family, for what they have given this country as Republicans.
MacCurtain, a Sinn Féin councillor, was elected lord mayor of Cork in January 1920.
He was shot dead in front of his wife at their home in Blackpool by the RIC on March 20, 1920. He was just 36. His execution sparked outrage. His successor, Terence MacSwiney, died on hunger strike in Brixton prison in London.
Mr Gould pleaded with the lord mayor, Fianna Fáil councillor John Sheehan, to do what he can to ensure MacCurtain’s memory is not diminished.
“Can we also find out whose idea it was to name a food and drink area of the city after the Famine Queen?” he asked
Workers’ Party councillor Ted Tynan backed Mr Gould and said the city should not be “paying homage to the Famine Queen”.
“It’s wrong, it should not be done. And the people who killed MacCurtain came from a barracks on the street,” he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Colm Kelleher described himself as one of the biggest Republicans on the council and accused Mr Gould of courting headlines.
“Yes, the street is called MacCurtain St but the Victorian Quarter is bigger than that, it goes all the way down to Kent Station,” he said.
He said the branding focuses on the area’s architecture and tourist attractions and was devised by several businesses to entice tourists into the area.