Irish News

Friday 19 September 2014

New bridge to honour Rosie Hackett

Published 20/05/2014 | 16:47

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The new public transport and pedestrian bridge named after trade Unionist Rosie Hackett in Dublin

The newest bridge over the Liffey was officially unveiled today in honour of a forgotten hero of Ireland's fight for independence.

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The Rosie Hackett Bridge remembers the 1916 veteran and is the first link across the river to be named after a woman.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said the tribute makes some amends for the airbrushing of women out of Irish history.

Rosie Hackett died in 1976 aged 84.

She was buried in Glasnevin cemetery with full military honours after devoting her life to activism, and aside from fighting in the Rising at Stephen's Green and the Royal College of Surgeons, she was a trade union leader for 60 years, a workers' organiser and rights campaigner, nurse and prisoner.

Hackett was also a founding member of the Irish Citizens Army and the only woman present the night the Proclamation was printed.

Mr Varadkar said the opening of the new bridge, and its name, sends out a strong statement.

"It is a recognition that we for too long have forgotten our own history," he said.

"For too long we have accepted a lopsided account of our past, and the Irishwomen who worked heroically with Irishmen to create a new future.

"Rosanna Hackett was just one of many women who played a crucial part in our history. But by honouring her, we honour all those who have been unjustly forgotten."

The bridge, which runs from Burgh Quay on the south of the Liffey to Eden Quay, will carry the Luas, taxis and buses.

It is the 21st bridge over the Liffey in the city.

Dublin city councillors selected Rosie Hackett last year after a shortlist of 17 had been finalised following a public vote.

Labour Youth, Labour Women, the National Women's Council of Ireland and senior trade union figures backed the Hackett campaign.

She beat stiff competition from the likes of James Connolly, WB Yeats and Bram Stoker.

Mr Varadkar said when people cross the bridge they will be reminded of who Rosie Hackett was and what she did.

"Tourists and visitors to the city will Google her name, and discover the part she played in winning Irish freedom. They will hear about her courage, and her example," he said.

"Curious children will read about her life, and be inspired to go off and read more about her, and the other men and women of that period.

"By building a bridge, and naming it after Rosie Hackett, we have caused ourselves to overcome our narrow view of the past, and embrace a better vision of the kind of Ireland we all want to see.

"It connects us with a part of our history that we had lost, or ignored. It reminds us of the ideals and aspirations of the leaders of the revolutionary period, what we have achieved, and what we still need to do."

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