Tue, 28/09/2021 - 10:35
The Mayor of the county of cork with the previous mayor and mairead lucey unveiling a commemorative peice with the artists

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan was joined by former Mayor Cllr. Ian Doyle, who held the office at the onset of Covid 19, to unveil a commemorative sculpture, ‘Meitheal’, which recognises the solidarity and support demonstrated by communities across the county. ‘Meitheal’ also symbolises the range of cooperation between voluntary organisations, local businesses and groups, and statutory bodies highlighted through Cork County Council’s Community Support Programme.

The ‘Meitheal’ sculpture, named after the Irish tradition of cooperation in service of social need, was commissioned as part of a public competition and created by Cork artists Liam and Eithne Ring. It stands in the plaza in Charleville, where community efforts in 2020 included the local production of PPE for healthcare workers and a ‘Wallathon Ballathon’ fundraiser by local schools, and numerous other acts of generosity and support were carried out, reflecting the mobilisation of volunteers and community groups countywide.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan said

“During the most difficult times of this pandemic, it was the massive mobilisation of volunteers, community groups and statutory bodies who ensured that anyone who reached out was assisted. From shop runs to phonecalls, letter writing to connecting people with vital service providers, no one person or organisation could have provided the level of support shown to those who needed it throughout the pandemic. As a community, we showed our compassion, solidarity and resolve in the face of great adversity and this sculpture commemorates that.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said

“Thanks to the incredible cooperation at all levels of society, we were able to deliver one of the country’s most successful Community Support Programmes while establishing a lasting legacy of cooperation for future initiatives such as Project ACT which have enhanced community life in our county. It is with great pride that we commemorate this unprecedented collaboration between voluntary, statutory and community organisations through the ‘Meitheal’ sculpture.”

Commenting on the sculpture, artists Liam and Eithne Ring said, “Our sculpture, "Meitheal", a bronze cube on a limestone plinth, is a metaphor for the parcels, the acts kindnesses, the help and the support that was given by people to others in the community during the Covid 19 pandemic. Sitting on a block of Munster red and white limestone, the viewer first sees the box form, then the gloved hands clasped in unity; surrounded by gear cogs that represent the various communities and organisations coming together like a well-oiled machine to help the more vulnerable and needy in our society. On closer inspection one finds a series of more detailed snapshots of the different aspects of the types work carried out by the community in the spirit of volunteerism. The darker underside of the cube shows the Covid 19 being kept down and at bay by the unity of the community spirit on the top side of the cube. We choose the title "Meitheal" as it best describes this ancient call to action that fortunately still exists today in Ireland and brought out the best in people during the worst of times.”