Vandalised Alfie Byrne monument to be removed

Dublin memorial to 10-times lord mayor ‘beyond repair’, city council says

 

A monument to one of Dublin’s most popular and longest-serving lord mayors is to be “decommissioned” by Dublin City Council.

The council is to remove the Alfie Byrne memorial seat which faces Dublin Bay at the beginning of the Clontarf promenade because it considers the cost of its conservation and maintenance “excessive”.

The curved oak bench featuring two “thrones” was erected by the council in 1999 to commemorate Byrne, who served as lord mayor 10 times, including nine consecutive years from 1930 to 1939.

The bench has been neglected and vandalised in recent years and its natural oak surface covered in thick layers of brown paint, obscuring the engraved inscription which details the history of the life of the Independent politician who was affectionately known as “the children’s Lord Mayor”.

The council said it was now beyond repair.

“The work is not considered to be of great artistic merit,” the council said. “The cost of maintenance or conservation required is considered excessive.”

The council also took into consideration that already “a major road was called after Alfie Byrne”. The memorial seat stands at the corner of this road and the Clontarf Road.

Kindness
Born in Dublin in 1882, the son of a docker who died when Byrne was only 13 years old, he rose to become not only lord mayor of Dublin but a TD, senator and a Westminster MP.

He was known for his accessibility to the people of the city, regularly cycling around its streets to meet them, and his kindness to the poor, especially children for whom he held parties at the Mansion House.

In 1946, as a TD, he tried to amend a new children’s Bill to ensure more protection to the children being sent to industrial schools, but as an Independent was unable to secure sufficient support from party-based TDs.

Funeral

On his death in 1956 his funeral attracted thousands, particularly from the ranks of the poor in the inner city and docklands.

The council has yet to set a date for the removal and destruction of the memorial, a process called “deaccession”.