Carrick-on-Suir Town Council is to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cumann na mBan by naming a place in the town after the women’s league that played a central role in the fight for Irish independence.
The Council has written to the residents of an unnamed housing estate in the town seeking their views on whether they would like to have their estate named after Cumann na mBan.
In the event the residents don’t wish to adopt this name for their neighbourhood, the Council’s Standing Orders Committee is drawing up a short list of other suitable roads, streets, parks and buildings in the town.
The Council aims to commemorate the centenary of Cumann na mBan’s foundation in this way before the local authority is abolished in May.
The proposal to honour the women of Cumann na mBan, who were involved in the fight for Irish independence between 1916 and 1921, by naming a place after them in Carrick was put foward by Fianna Fail Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan at the Council’s March meeting.
She said there were a lot of places in the town named after the 1916 Rising leaders but Markevicz Terrace was the only place name associated with Cumann na mBan.
Cllr Cooney-Sheehan, whose grandmother was a Cumann na mBan volunteer, said the organisation’s members were very brave women, who were willing to risk their lives for Irish freedom.
“Naming a place after Cumann na mBan would recognise the important role these women played. We are lucky today that were are not put in the position they were. We have freedom,” said argued.
SF Cllr David Dunne said he was honoured to second the motion and noted that Cumann na mBan partly originated in the feminist movement and its members struck a blow for women’s rights as well as against English imperialism.
The motion was also welcomed by Cllrs Sarah Dunne, Margaret Croke, the Mayor Cllr Kieran Bourke, Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald and Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin. The Mayor suggested the Town Hall be named after the organisation if the plans to upgrade it go ahead while Cllr O’Loughlin suggested the proposed access road to Ormond Castle.
Cllr Richie O’Neill was the only councillor to oppose the motion. He said there were more important people to name places in the town after and he felt the women of the Magdalene Laundries should be honoured instead.
Cllr Cooney-Sheehan said she was extremely disappointed with Cllr O’Neill’s stance. And she didn’t support Cllr O’Loughlin’s proposal as it may be years before that road was built and she wanted this commemoration of Cumann na mBan to take place on its 100th anniversary and before the Council was abolished.
She said she had spoken to the Town Clerk and there was a small housing estate that was not yet officially named, which may be suitable.
Cllr Fitzgerald and others cautioned that the residents should be consulted first as they may not want this name for their estate. Cllr Cooney-Sheehan replied that the Council always consulted with residents.
“There is no question of the name being imposed on them,” she stressed.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien agreed to write to the residents of the estate and seek their views and in the meantime the Council’s Standing Orders Committee would draw up a list of alternatives.