Three months on, Brennan street vote is still in the air

By David Tucker

Published 15/09/2015 | 00:00

Cllr Tony Dempsey who made the original proposal.
Cllr Tony Dempsey who made the original proposal.

earlier this year, then mayor Cllr George Lawlor said a plebiscite on the renaming of a Wexford street in honour of a hero of the 1916 Rising who once lived there should be held before the middle of the year.

Three months on and Upper George Street is still Upper George Street and the name of that hero of the revolution, journalist and ambassador to the USA Robert Brennan is still on the wish-list of those who would like to see it affixed to the Wexford street scape.

Little has been heard in the corridors of power at county hall about the plebiscite and council officials appear reticient to talk about the renaming of the street and even the normally loquacious George is playing his cards close to his chest.

Council chairman Cllr Tony Dempsey, who made the original proposal that Upper George Street should be Robert Brennan Street, said that while he was still ready to go with the plebiscite, he was aware that 'people had made alternative proposals'.

'Unless there are compelling reasons we will go with the plebiscite although some people want to see what the other proposals are.'

Suggestions on the street include a bust of Robert Brennan in an appropriate place and even naming a reading room after him to honour his revolutionary and journalistic credentials and those of his famour writer daughter Maeve.

As of now, the issue may be discussed at the next meeting of the borough district council, but there are no counter proposals currently on the table.

When the controversy first stirred itself into life earlier this year, resident Robert Roche suggested it would be more appropriate to erect a plaque or monument to Brennan outlining his achievements.

He said that until he saw publicity about Brennan earlier this year he had never heard of him.

Brennan, who grew up in Upper George Street, took part in the 1916 Rising, was a prominent writer and journalist and became the Irish Free State's first minister to the United States, yet his name has been virtually airbrushed from the history of the town.

Several other local people have privately expressed their opposition to the suggestion. The latest to publicly join the debate is Wexford town businessman Kevin Byrne who has written to all the town's councillors saying that any street named after Brennan does not does not necessarily have to be the precise street where he was born and reared and to rename Upper George Street after Brennan are 'ridiculous'. 'Examples of this are Corish Park and Brendan Corish Gardens, where neither Brendan or Richard Corish were born or lived in,' said Mr. Byrne.

Wexford People

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