Cork County Council has said it is still open to working with Youghal pensioner, John McGrath, following an ongoing dispute. The 80 year old staged a sit-in protest inside Youghal’s Clock Gate Tower last month, when the Local Authority refused to give him permission to erect a photographic display and the McGrath Family Crest.
The exhibit measures 21” X 21” depicting three generations of the McGrath family who lived in the Tower between 1915 and 1955. The Youghal man played an integral part in creating the tourist attraction, with a 1950’s reconstruction of the family sitting room forming part of the display. Three generations of the McGrath family were tenants of the Clock Gate, and 5 framed photos provided by Mr McGrath are currently on display there.
The Local Authority say they have sent a number of letters attempting to resolve matters, but Mr McGrath has yet to respond. They said they are willing to appropriately frame, in A4 or A5 size, any family portrait or photo relevant to the Clock Gate in the 1950’s. The photo can also include the family crest which can be displayed over the fireplace. Alternatively, they said they can arrange for a selection of photos of Mr McGrath’s choice relevant, to the era, to be professionally re-created in a style compatible with the 1950’s. The Local Authority said the album would be displayed on the table of the McGrath family floor.
A spokesperson for the Council said that if they were to accept the McGrath photo montage in its current form, they would be in breach of Fáilte Ireland funding rules. “The finished exhibition is wholly authentic and an accurate reflection of what the original McGrath family home looked like in the 1950’s, and is Fáilte Ireland approved.” “Funding for the project was dependent on Fáilte Ireland, and we are obliged to maintain this product as is.”
In 2017 the project was grant aided in the amount of €200,000 from Fáilte Ireland’s ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ Capital Grants Scheme
The East Cork Journal has made several attempts to contact Mr McGrath over a number of days for comment, but no response has been received prior to going to print.