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23/25 February 1922

Father Dominic O’Connor (1883–1935) courtesy of Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives.
Father Dominic O’Connor (1883–1935) courtesy of Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives.

Thursday 23 February

School of Art Article
Image: courtesy Evening Echo, 23 February 1922

Renumeration and Reconstruction following the Burning of Cork discussed with Michael Collins

The weekly meeting of the Cork and District Trades’ Council discussed the recent deputation from the Reconstruction Committee (following the Burning of Cork, 11-12 December 1920) who met with Michael Collins, Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Cabinet of the Irish Provisional Government:

‘…Altogether there were nine members present, representing the Chambers of Commerce, property owners, Trades’ Council and the Corporation. They met Mr Collins in Dublin…and Mr Barry M. Egan put up the case for the Corporation, and Mr Barry and himself (Mr Nason) put the case for labour, and it did not require many words, because Mr Collins was already alive to the occasion, and on behalf of the Provisional Government of the country he (Mr Collins) assured them that the money for rebuilding Cork was in hands, and that he was prepared to hand it to the Corporation on corporate responsibility.

‘…Anything burned by the Irish people should be paid for by them. Anything that was burned by the Cork forces would be paid for by England. Greenwood (Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, British Government) admitted that Cork was burned by Crown forces, and the Government of England held itself responsible for the re-building of Cork and were prepared to turn round and make ample compensation for it. This compensation was to be measured as things went on. Any barracks burned in Ireland were to be put against anything the Irish people had burned, but as far as the burning of Cork was concerned, the English Government held itself responsible and were prepared to make provision for it. The Provisional Government was prepared to grant any amount of money up to two millions [about €145 million today] if necessary, and a commission was to set up to consider the claims – whether they were exaggerated – but that would not delay building. Mr Collins told them he was prepared to grant this money immediately on the responsibility of the Cork Corporation’

Saturday 25 February

Father Dominic O’Connor (1883–1935) courtesy of Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives.
Father Dominic O’Connor (1883–1935) courtesy of Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives.

‘On Saturday, in the Council Chamber, Courthouse, a meeting of the Cork Corporation was held. The Lord Mayor (Councillor O’Callaghan) presided…Alderman E. Coughlan, in accordance with notice, moved, speaking in Irish –

“That the Freedom of the City be conferred on Rev. Fr. Dominic, O.S.F.C., as a mark of respect for his valuable services rendered as Chaplain to the first two Republican Lord Mayors of Cork, and, especially for his steadfast devotion to the late Toirdhealbach Mac Suibne, T.D. [Terence MacSwiney]; while suffering and dying for his country in Brixton Prison, and as a mark of appreciation of his own sufferings in Ireland’s Cause. And further, that the said resolution be suitably engrossed, sealed with Common Seal, and presented to the Rev. Fr. Dominic, in a silver casket.”

The Lord Mayor said he took it the Council would be unanimous in the matter.’

(Source: Evening Echo, Monday 27 February 1922)

Father Dominic O’Connor (1883-1935), was Chaplain to the IRA Cork Brigade and gave MacSwiney Holy Communion daily during his 74-day hunger strike in Brixton Prison, London. It was Fr O’Connor who had sent a telegram to the then Deputy Lord Mayor Dónnaíl Ó Ceallacháin (Councillor O’Callaghan) upon MacSwiney’s death at 5:40 am, 24 October 1920 of which brought a renewed international focus to the Irish Cause for Freedom.

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