Donnybrook’s Joe Doyle Tribute

Above: Councillor Paddy McCartan unveils the plaque at Beaver Row.

Above: Councillor Paddy McCartan unveils the plaque at Beaver Row.

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Joe Doyle was honoured with the unveiling of a plaque on the Beaver Row footbridge in Donnybrook recently. A crowd of Ministers, Deputies, Councilors, former Ministers and others attended the ceremony on December 4th and NewsFour were there reporting as always. The plaque was commissioned by Dublin City Council.

Councillor Paddy McCartan gave a rousing opening speech about his former colleague Joe Doyle, which detailed Joe’s 25-year career as a public representative for his constituency.

Joe Doyle was first elected to Dublin Corporation in 1979, and was subsequently voted into the Dáil two years later. This was a particularly tumultuous time in Irish politics, with three elections taking place over the course of 18 months. In 1987 he made a triumphant entry into the Irish Senate.

“I remember particularly the 1989 election which was called prematurely,” Paddy McCartan announced to the spectators, “We were determined to get the second Fine Gael seat back, and it was a rare occasion when a politician went around looking for votes for his running mate. Garrett Fitzgerald did that and in the end Joe got more votes than Garrett and Garrett nearly lost his seat!”

Joe’s proudest moment came when he was elected to the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin between 1998 and 1999. One of many things that Joe is most known for was his central role in the decision to erect the Spire of Dublin, the world’s largest sculpture.

“Throughout Joe’s years on the city council and his years on the Senate, he was certainly a man of great principle, he did pay attention to his conscience, which sometimes put him at odds with the party, but his integrity was maintained throughout,” Paddy McCartan continued.

The topic of an appropriate tribute to Joe’s legacy was touched upon a long time ago, with progress eventually coming to fruition. The people involved in the creation and the consolidation of the memorial plaque were the Naming Committee, the Area Committee, the South East area, the Parks Department, the Roads Department and Clonmel Enterprises.

The main purpose of assigning Joe’s name to this bridge is to remind locals that he crossed this bridge on an almost daily basis for much of his life.

Members of Joe’s family were also present at this service, with his widow Peggy and his daughter Roisin and her family. Roisin addressed the gathering about how her father began his life as a sacristan in Donnybrook’s Church of the Sacred Heart. The family home was at 10 Simmonscourt Terrace, housing that was built specifically for the tram drivers living there, of which Joe’s father was one.

Above: Joe Doyle during his tenure as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Above: Joe Doyle during his tenure as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

“Dad felt a great sense of belonging here in Donnybrook, and although he loved to travel, Donnybrook was always his home,” Roisin said. “Dad was a community man, a church man, but his main role was as a family man. Friends were loyal to dad and I think this is a testament to the man he was. All those who knew dad would know that he is fully deserving of this legacy, on behalf of my family and I’d like to express our appreciation to everyone involved for making this day happen.”

The group then retired to Kiely’s of Donnybrook for some post-ceremony refreshments, leaving behind the plaque to Joe Doyle, which will serve as a constant reminder of a local legend who gave his all for his community and for his city.

By Craig Kinsella