Council is asked to change street name in honour of John Hume

Hume Street resident believes renaming would ‘recognise a truly great Irish man’

'In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America' is a new feature documentary by Maurice Fitzgerald about John Hume which reveals how his engagement with the US was a major catalyst in the journey to securing peace in Northern Ireland.

 

Dublin city councillors have received a proposal asking for a Georgian street to be renamed in honour of John Hume.

Robert Baker wrote to councillors with a suggestion to change Hume Street in Dublin 2 to John Hume Street.

Mr Baker, who owns and works at 12 Hume Street, said “this name change can incorporate both the old and the new, keeping its link with the past while recognising a truly great Irish man”.

Hume Street, between Ely Place and St Stephen’s Green, is understood to have been named after Sir Gustavus Hume, an 18th century surgeon and property developer.

“It’s an idea that’s been on my mind for a while, but I suppose now with the publicity around the movie being released about John Hume, it’s kind of spurred me on to actually take the action,” said Mr Baker. “It’s one of those unique circumstances where you lose nothing of the past and you can add something to it. I think the city has done more for lesser people; they could do that much, at least, for him.”

Mr Baker, originally from Co Laois, said he has “always admired John Hume” – a founding member of the SDLP and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 with David Trimble.

“One couldn’t but admire him all the way through the Troubles. I’m 55 and I remember that period very well. To me he stands out as a giant,” said Mr Baker.

“It’s up to the councillors really to take a position on it and vote as representatives of the people. I think if they vote to change the street name, I can’t see why it won’t happen.”

Dublin City Council’s commemorative naming policy guidelines state “proposals to commemorate living persons will not be considered. Nominees will have to have died at least 20 years previously or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is earlier.”

Independent Cllr Mannix Flynn said he thought the proposal a “great idea”.

“There are certain procedures around naming changing and commemoration and the person usually has to be deceased,” he said.

“But none of that is stead fastened and in exceptional circumstances decisions can be made. I don’t think there’s a huge difficulty in that we are just putting the word John before it as well the association of John Hume.”

Cllr Flynn said he will raise the matter at the next meeting of the Commemoration Naming Committee which takes place at City Hall on Thursday.

“There are extraordinary circumstances and there are unique opportunities to do something and I would be confident that councillors would agree to making Hume Street to John Hume Street,” he added.