In recent times Archbishop Ryan Park has been renamed as Merrion Square (the name used by everyone already; the average Dubliner would have blinked if asked where Archbishop Ryan Park was) as a response to the Murphy Report’s condemnation of the Archbishop’s actions in relation to the care of children. The park was renamed to honour the Archbishop after his death, as it was his decision to give the park to the people of Dublin.
Over the last few months there was an attempt to have a train station named after Stephen Gately, the deceased former member of Boyzone. This was rejected on the grounds that “Iarnród Éireann now restricts the naming of stations to their geographical location, a policy which was developed on the back of repeated requests to rename stations after celebrities and other well-known figures“. Given that the renaming of a street or station should be a relatively permanent event, this policy is a fairly wise one, in these times of overnight fame. Unfortunately, this policy robs otherwise deserving Irishmen of their chance to be honoured by having a landmark named after them.
The solution should be relatively simple: for new landmarks, publically-funded statutes and the renaming of old roads and stations, only candidates who have been dead for fifty years will be considered.
If what you did in life was so minor that after only fifty years you aren’t considered worthy of a statue, then you probably weren’t worthy of one in the first place. Also, this allows for candidates like Archbishop Ryan, whose reputations are sullied by new revelations or changing standards in society, to be weeded out.
Dedications should be restricted to those persons whose accomplishments can stand the test of time, and be respected by the next generation.