One hundred years on from the deliberate burning of Cork, Taoiseach and proud Cork man Micheál Martin has said that his native city has grown from the burnt ruins of a century ago to being one that is outlooking and embraces change and diversity.
Speaking ahead of a special commemoration to be held in Cork city tonight the Taoiseach said “as we face the challenges of the future, let us draw upon the sense of resilience and common purpose that underpinned the revolutionary generation of Cork a century ago.”
The Taoiseach said it was appropriate to remember the historic events of 1920 and to “pay homage to the revolutionary generation of Irish women and men who by their deeds and resilience helped forge.. one of the oldest continuous democratic states in the world.”
1920 is remembered as one of the most formative and violent years in the history of Cork. Tomás Mac Curtáin, the Lord Mayor of Cork, was murdered in his own home and in front of his own family by members of the British police force.
His replacement, Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in a British jail in October of 1920. Barely two months later on December 11-12, British forces in Cork razed the centre of the city.
The burning of Cork was a reprisal for an IRA ambush of Black and Tans on patrol in the city, which wounded twelve Auxiliaries, one fatally.
The Taoiseach said these events resonated internationally and “Cork, the city on the Atlantic, came to represent the flame of a new state emerging from the shadows of its colonial past.”