Monday 14 October 2019

Monument 'should be taken in charge'

The Council is considering taking charge of the Countess Markievicz monument in Rathcormac in time for the centenary of her appointment as Minister for Labour next April. Independent Cllr Declan Bree and Fine Gael Cllr Hubert Keaney tabled a joint motion calling for the council to take the iconic statue in charge.

The 20ft bronze figure unveiled by sculptor John Coll in 2003 includes six steel and bronze figures. Countess Markievicz is depicted in the Fianna Eireann uniform carrying a flag at an opened prison gate while other figures highlight various aspects of her life as a freedom fighter, a prisoner, a politician, womens' rights activist as well as paying tribute to her selfless work on behalf of the poor of Dublin, according to Cllr Bree.

He told the meeting it recently came to light that the memorial was never formally handed over or taken in charge by the Council, which was the original intention. The two councillors were supported by Cllr Seamus Kilgannon who appealed to the Council to "seriously consider taking it in charge." "It'd be a pity if anything happened to it. It would be nice to see it maintained," he said.

Cllr Rosaleen O'Grady complimented the Residents Association of Rathcormac for the way they have maintained the area around the memorial. Council Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes pointed out that the memorial was on private land and there would be "legal issues" for the Council crossing private land to maintain the memorial.

"Bear with us. We'll look into it," he told members. "Assuming we can surmount the legal issues there are important dates coming up such as the date Countess Markievicz was appointed Minister for Labour in April 1919," he said, indicating the Council could consider something "to mark the centenary of that." Cllr Bree warmly welcomed the positive response from the Executive. Cllr Chris MacManus pointed out that the Markievicz memorial sculptor is the same man who recently sculpted a statue of the folk singer Luke Kelly in Dublin.

Sligo Champion