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Nelson name change for the Spire rejected


The Spire

The Spire

The Spire

DUBLIN councillors have rejected the idea to rename the Spire on O'Connell Street in honour of Nelson Mandela.

The suggestion arose when a member of the public wrote to Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn to recommend the tribute believing it was appropriate due to the Spire's proximity to Dunnes Stores on Henry Street where workers infamously refused to handle fruit from apartheid South Africa during the 1980s.

But last night, after a meeting of the Commemorative Naming Committee, the local councillors ruled out any return of 'Nelson's Pillar'.


"We will not be making the change," said Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey, who chaired the committee.

"We discussed policy guidelines and two particular principles came up.

"The first of which was the long-standing rule that someone should be dead 20 years before major infrastructure should be named after them and the second reason was that there was a general view that we shouldn't be renaming things," he added.

According to Cllr Lacey the initial concept of the Spire was that it should not be named after any one person, but rather it should be a structure "that is for everybody".

"This was not a rejection of Nelson Mandela, but simply an endorsement of these principles that were already in place," Cllr Lacey added.

But the eight-member Commemorative Naming Committee has called on the local area committee in the vicinity, where the historic strike took place, to look at naming a street, lane or walk in honour of Mandela.


Some of the Dunnes Stores workers involved in the mid-1980s strike against apartheid policies went to Mandela's funeral last month.

The strike began when Mary Manning, then 21 years old, a Dunnes Stores employee, was suspended after refusing to handle fruit from South Africa.

A total of 11 workers went on strike for almost three years over the issue between July 1984 and April 1987, resulting in the Irish government banning goods from South Africa being sold in Ireland until the end of the apartheid regime.

Mandela was made a freeman of Dublin City in 1988.