Nelson may return to Dublin as council mulls new name for Spire

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey says everything was up for discussion

A special committee of Dublin City Council is to consider renaming Dublin's Millennium Spire after the late Nelson Mandela at a meeting today.

The idea, which is on the agenda of the Commemorative Naming Committee, arose after a member of the public wrote to Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn suggesting it would be appropriate due to the spire's close proximity to the Dunnes Stores on Henry Street where workers refused to handle fruit from 1980s apartheid South Africa. Fiachra Ó Luain appealed to Mr Quinn saying it would be a "fitting tribute" to the former South African leader who died last month.

Mr Mandela was made a freeman of Dublin City in 1988, the first capital city in the world to bestow such an honour on him.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey, who chairs the committee, said that while he would be reluctant to change an existing rule that monuments can only be dedicated to people deceased for at least 20 years, "everything was up for discussion".


The eight-man committee will discuss the proposed “Nelson Mandela Pillar” today before deciding whether or not the idea warrants further exploration.

Independent councillor Nial Ring, also a member of the committee, said the 20 year rule was part of the reason the late Tony Gregory's name could not be attached to the new Liffey bridge which was named after Rosie Hackett last September. Nelson's Pillar stood close to the site up until 1966.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times