Friday 28 October 2016

Calls to rename Port Tunnel in honour of Rising hero Thomas Clarke

Port tunnel
Port tunnel
thomas clarke

A proposal to rename the Port Tunnel in honour of Easter Rising leader Thomas Clarke is to be put to Dublin City Council.

A group called the 1916-1921 Club passed a motion at its AGM last Friday to seek to have the tunnel renamed.

Club member and Dublin city councillor Nial Ring said he plans to bring the proposal forward for consideration by city authorities.

Helen Litton, the grand-niece of Thomas Clarke, said the proposal to rename the tunnel would be a welcome and fitting tribute.

"He was one of the moving forces behind the Rising, but kept behind the scenes," she said.


"Maybe an underground project such as the Port Tunnel might prove a worthy project to name after him.

"In many ways, he is the forgotten signatory to the Proclamation. It is strange how we choose to remember some but not others."

The 1916-1921 Club hopes the importance of the first signatory to the Proclamation of Independence will be recognised ahead of the 1916 centenary commemorations next year.

High-profile patrons include President Higgins' wife Sabina, Justice Hugh O'Flaherty, artist Robert Ballagh and Cormac O'Malley, the son of former IRA commander Ernie O'Malley.

The club was founded in the 1940s to honour and commemorate those who fought and died for Irish freedom and to heal the divisions of the civil war.

Thomas Clarke

Clarke was responsible for recruiting some of the Rising's most prominent activists.

He fought in the GPO, close to his tobacconist shop on Parnell Street, and was part of the subsequent retreat and surrender in Moore Street.

Tried by court martial, he was executed on May 3, 1916, at the age of 59.

However, no lasting monument has ever been erected or named in his honour in the capital, and the 1916-1921 Club feels now is the time to do so.

Club member Padraig Beirne said the Port Tunnel would be an "excellent piece of infrastructure to rename in Clarke's honour".

"It would bring to the public's attention the important role he played in 1916, and the centenary of that is a perfect opportunity," he told the Herald.


"He was the one who selected Pearse to do the oration at the funeral of the Irish Republican Brotherhood founder Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa's funeral on August 1, 1915, which is seen by historians as planting the seeds of the Rising, yet he is totally ignored in the capital city."

Mr Justice O'Flaherty said he believes Clarke deserves a prominent and lasting memorial in Dublin.

"He suffered for his beliefs and he paid the ultimate price. Others have been honoured, but not Clarke, and it is time he got that honour," he told the Herald.

A seminar on Clarke is to be held in City Hall on Dame Street on October 31 from 2pm to 5pm.

Admission is free and speakers include Ms Litton.

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