The National Catalan Assembly’s (ANC) International Committee and the Dignity Commission have homaged Cork’s 1920 Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney today, on March 4th in Catalunya Square, in front of former president Francesc Macià’s Sculpture.
Coinciding with the Easter Rising Centenary, the beginning of the Irish independence process and the Wilson’s position on self-determination, the ANC and the Dignity Commission paid tribute with a laurel wreath to the Irish hero Terence MacSwiney, who died in Brixton jail after holding a hunger strike for 74 days protesting against the Irish republicans’ repression and against his imprisonment.
This homage was in front of the former president Francesc Macià Sculpture in Catalunya Square, the same place where a big demonstration took place in solidarity with Cork’s Lord Mayor in late October 1920.
The tribute begun with some words of Mr. Toni Strubell (the Dignity Commission) who thanked the MPs and city councillors who joined the tribute and specially to Cathal Brugha, MacSwiney’s grandson, for coming to Catalonia. Toni Strubell explained the importance of Terence MacSwiney, who died not only for his own country but showing to the world his ideals and his pacific struggle against injustice. That was the reason Terence MacSwiney became an inspiration for the Catalan people. The death of Cork’s Lord Mayor caused a wave of empathy and solidarity in Catalonia headed by organisations such as the CADCI union and “Unió Catalanista”, who sent MacSwiney’s daigher Máire a porcelain doll with typical Catalan dresses. This piece is still preserved at the Museum of Cork and speaks of a Century of Catalan solidarity with Ireland. Mr. Toni Strubell finished emphasizing that the Irish people didn’t give up before achieving their freedom, as the Catalan people won’tl.
Ms Liz Castro (ANC International Committee Chair) talked about connections, first of all because “we have many things in common, and one of those things is the feeling that we are a nation, we have the right to exist and to decide our political future”. Talking about connections and how the Catalan people followed Terence MacSwiney’s case, she emphasized how he had been able to question British moral authority with his hunger strike. Lis Castro also showed how the principles of Terence MacSwiney inspired people around the world, joining in the pacific way he fought against injustice. His example was followed in countries like India and by movements like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela’s.
After the ANC International Committee Chair, Cathal Brugha began his speech by thanking the Catalan people for their support in 1920 and today. He talked about his grandfather as poet and philosopher as well, and how he was deeply interested in the figure of Ramon Llull (a Catalan middle age philosopher), an important figure in international science whose thoughts and writings inspired modern technology. Cathal Brugha remembered the Catalan solidarity with his grandfather and his mother and read some words that his grandfather wrote to his family before dying.
The tribute was also attended by Rosa Maria Carrasco, daughter of Manuel Carrasco Formiguera, who as councillor to Barcelona’s City Hall at the time of the big demonstration in Barcelona, joined and encouraged the solidary movement with MacSwiney.
The Uíllean Pipes played Irish music after a laurel wreath tribute was made to MacSwiney and the choir Poble Que Canta chor also sang two Catalan songs in honour of the old mayor of Cork: La balanguera and Els segadors (Catalan national anthem).
(Homage photos by Lluís Brunet)