Friday, May 09, 2014

Rosie's Bridge

Click any picture for a larger image

Today saw the launch of a booklet setting out the background to the naming of the Rosie Hackett Bridge. It includes an original essay on Rosie and some biographical details on the other four shortlisted contenders.

The launch was by Dublin Lord Mayor, Oisin Quinn, who not only paid tribute to Rosie but reminded us of the other unsuccessful but very worthy shortlisted contenders.

Councillor Dermot Lacey, who chaired the City Council's Naming Committee, explained how the final decision was made. There were 85 nominations and over 18,000 people made submissions in one way or another. Voting was by the Borda count method which operates on the basis of stated preferences and produces a single winner representing the maximum of consensus among the voters. Dermot claimed that this was a first for a public authority and he is nearly right as perusal of the Wikipedia link above will show.

Dermot is a great speaker, providing substance with entertainment, or is it entertainment with substance, and if ever the toastmasters run out of members, then Dermot is your man.

And he doesn't confine himself to mere speech. He played us the first public performance of a new ballad he has written for Rosie and her bridge and promised to donate the millions it would generate to Alone, an organisation looking after the elderly set up by Willie Bermingham, a Dublin firefighter who also figured on the bridge's shortlist.

And the worthy runners up will not be forgotten. The intention is to honour them, one way or another, in the future. But, as Dermot reminded us, you have to be very careful about this. Take Bram Stoker for instance. The East Link Bridge, which is about to revert to the control of the Council from the current private operator, could come up for renaming. As the Council, at this stage, intends retaining the toll on the bridge, calling it after Bram Stoker could give Dublin wits a field day, starting with "The Bloodsucker Bridge".

Clearly, the Lord Mayor is impressed with the new ballad and who knows, we might find him giving his own rendition at a future function - the opening of the bridge perhaps.

And these are the girls, whose vociferous and relentless campaign across the social media got the bridge for Rosie.

The Lord Mayor hears May O'Brien's reminiscences of Rosie. May was a stalwarth in trade union circles fighting for workers', and particularly women workers', rights. You can read one of these reminiscences in the booklet.

James Curry (right) who researched and wrote the piece about Rosie in the booklet, with brother and sister Bill and May O'Brien (centre) both of whom are well known for their trade union advocacy and leadership on behalf of workers, and Laura Paul (left) a friend of May's.

You can access the Dublin City Libraries' press release online including the PDF of the booklet itself. The booklet is a lovely production, as we have come to expect from Dublin City Council. I am lost in admiration for the cover photo/montage which succeeds in obscuring the hideous Liberty Hall, no doubt in deference to Rosie who was strongly opposed to the destruction of the original building.

The bridge will be opened on 20 May 2014 and James will be giving a talk on Rosie in Liberty Hall on 19 May 2014.


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