Unveiling of statues is historic day for Belfast
Unveiling of statues is historic day for Belfast


By Conor McParland (for Belfast Media)

The installation of two bronze statues in the grounds of Belfast City Hall to commemorate two radical Belfast women has been hailed as a “historic and symbolic day for the city”.

The statues of Winifred Carney and Mary Ann McCracken were officially unveiled on Friday afternoon to coincide with International Women’s Day. They are the first statues of women from a republican tradition to be erected at Belfast City Hall.

The sculptures were created by Studio Sander and Sander, with Ralf Sander leading on Winifred’s sculpture and his daughter Naomi Sander leading on Mary Ann’s sculpture.

Both were in attendance and addressed the crowd, along with Gerry Murphy from Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

Born in Bangor in 1887, Winnie Carney was an Irish suffragist, trade unionist and advocate of Irish independence. She was present with James Connolly in the GPO during the Easter Rising and was a Sinn Féin election candidate in 1918. She died in 1943.

Mary Ann McCracken was an abolitionist and social reformer whose political activism began with the United Irishmen. Born in Belfast in 1760 into a prominent liberal Presbyterian family, her brother Henry Joy McCracken was hanged in High Street in July 1798 for his part in leading an attack on Antrim town during the rebellion of that year.

Speaking at the unveiling, Mayor Ryan Murphy said: “Winifred Carney and Mary Ann McCracken are two of the most notable women in the city of Belfast.

“It is a historic and symbolic day for our city and a day that these women receive the recognition they deserve on behalf of Belfast.

“By adding these statues to the others already sitting proudly in the grounds of City Hall, our aim is to make the building and its grounds more reflective of society. The City Hall needs to reflect the people it serves.

“These statues celebrate historical female achievement, inclusivity and the diversity of the people that have helped shape our city. They will also undoubtedly attract more visitors to City Hall and the city for decades to come.”

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