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Name quays after Irish writers: Mitchell

LARISSA NOLAN IRELAND'S rich literary tradition should be commemorated by renaming the capital's quays after our greatest writers.

Fine Gael TD and MEP Gay Mitchell has called on Dublin City Council to drop the current outdated names and call the Liffey banks after writers like Joyce and Beckett.

The Rathmines-based deputy has made the call on the first ever Dubs Day, an event for Dubliners to celebrate all that is good about their city.

Mr Mitchell pointed out that no other country in the world has such a literary Hall of Fame as Ireland.

He said no other city can boast three Nobel Prize winners for literature as we can with Yeats, Beckett and Shaw.

"The list goes on and on - James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Behan, Swift, Shaw, even up to today with greats like Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle. This year saw the centenary of Samuel Beckett's birth, while next month marks Bloomsday," he said.

"Dublin is to literature as Vienna is to music. We are proud of it, but we also take it for granted.

"We should be celebrating this achievement in a more public way. I believe renaming some of the city's quays after our literary greats would be the perfect way to do it and would accentuate a particular part of Dublin's tradition."

He says our quays are currently somewhat blandly named after mostly British figures who had a role in making Ireland what it is today.

"I'm not suggesting we should forget these people. It is not an exercise in wiping away our links with Britain.

"But even Dubliners would be hard pressed to remember the names of the quays. Oscar Wilde Quay or WB Yeats Quay would work much better."

Deputy Mitchell has spoken to tourist officials about the idea and they agree it would work. He now plans to make a submission to Dublin City Council.

The MEP first mooted the plan 20 years ago, but it was rejected at the last minute.

He explained: "The council got cold feet. The political climate was different then and it became a political argument over whether or not to airbrush out our historical links with Britain. It was never about that at all."

Today, Dubliners are enjoying free entry to museums, galleries, churches and castles all over the city, to celebrate Dubs Day.

The event aims to encourage residents of the capital to explore their own turf.

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