By Dan Walsh
Plans for the Centenary Programme was controversial amongst members at today’s monthly meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council held in the Upton Court Hotel, Kilmuckridge, where Cathaoirleach Cllr Pip Breen was on hand to calm matters.
Prior to the meeting, Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabhain claims he contacted his Council colleagues seeking their support for a cross-party motion which read; “That we produce a mural as one part of our Centenary Programme to honour local figures such as Liam Mellows, Seán Etchingham and Máire Comerford”.
Cllr Ó Súilleabháin told the meeting that while viewing the online agenda last night he felt disappointed, but not at all surprised to see that Fianna Fáil as a group had withdrawn their support for the proposal despite having agreed to their names on the cross-party motion when it was submitted.
“It was done in a spirit of co-operation for what should be a non-party political approach to these centenary events,” he stated.
He could not understand why murals were not suitable despite “having several beautiful murals on other subjects in the district, which they had praised and fully supported and with which they were delighted to pose for photos.”
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux praised the three major historical figures associated with the Gorey area,
“We are the only town in Leinster, that I am aware of, that has three significant leaders, one an executed leader of the War of Independence, that are buried within a four-five mile radius of the town – we have Máire Comerford, a world renowned feminist, Liam Mellows who is commemorated annually and Sean Etchingham, who was the first Cathaoirleach of Cumann Lúth-cleas Gael Loch Garman.
Cllr Willie Kavanagh believed “a mural won’t be there for all time.” Cllr Anthony Donohoe asked if murals were “putting a ball and chain around Councils in twenty or thirty year’s time when they would have to be replaced,” he felt maybe a memorial in Gorey Town Park might be the best approach. He favoured a “more classier piece of art or something like that.”
Cllr Donal Kenny said he was not in favour of a mural. He supported Cllr Donohoe and claimed “they are alright for a couple of years, they need maintenance and they don’t get it.”
Cathaoirleach Cllr Pip Breen said “we are all in agreement that we need a memorial, whether it is a mural or a stone, and he suggested putting a sub-committee together to liaise with the County Librarian, when Cllr Donohoe interjected and claimed that 1798 was blighted with stone memorials, in 2016 we put up stones, and he felt that something more thoughtful be considered.
Cllr Mary Farrell asked if the removal of the word ‘mural’ from the proposal would help? Cllr Joe Sullivan told the meeting that there were numerous talented artists around Gorey and he suggested setting up a committee to look at the various options and come up with a fitting memorial to 1922.