Activists in Cork have defaced street signs referencing British monarchs and have called instead for signs to honour Ireland’s heroes.
Irish language activist Diarmaid O Cadhla said that members of the Cork Street Names Campaign wanted to those who gave their lives for Ireland instead of British rulers who ‘committed genocide’ here.
The group mainly targeted street signs honouring Queen Victoria, the British monarch who presided over the death of a million Irish citizens during the Great Hunger.
“The group are engaging in Civil Disobedience to remove Victoria’s name,” Mr O Cadhla said.
“This is necessary in order to respect the memory of the millions who starved and were dispossessed under her reign.
“When it comes to Victoria, it is glaringly obvious. There are mass graves in Cork with tens of thousands of people who died under her rule. We should remember the rule of these criminals and aristocrats in a more fitting manner.”
Mr O Cadhla called for local figures and Irish national heroes to be considered for street names instead. “What does it say about us as a city? Do we have nobody worthy of commemoration?”
The Cork Street Names Campaign held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss what tactics to use going forward. The group has put together a proposal that deals with the issue without erasing Cork’s history, but the Mayor of Cork had so far refused to meet with them.
“We have been writing to City Hall since December looking to get a meeting with the Lord Mayor,” Mr O Cadhla said.
The group says it had been snubbed by being redirected to the city’s roads division, which is responsible for street names.
“That’s not good enough. The Lord Mayor is meant to be above politics -- he isn’t obliged to meet with us, but if he won’t meet people, what is the Lord Mayor for?”