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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020
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You can walk or cycle over the Rosie Hackett Bridge from tomorrow

You can also drive over it if you’re a bus or taxi driver. Or a regular motorist who enjoys penalty points and prison time.

Opening - Rosie Hackett bridge in Dubl Second Cousin of Rosie Hackett, Mrs Agnes Malone from Glasgow poses in front of the new bridge. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN’S NEWEST LIFFEY Bridge will officially open to the public at 6am tomorrow morning.

The new structure links Marlborough St on the northside with Hawkins Street on the south bank — and will handle the new southbound cross city LUAS line once that project’s completed.

For the moment, it’s open to buses, taxis and cyclists. There’s also a footpath for pedestrians.

The bridge is the 24th crossing of the Liffey, and the first to be named after a woman.

Hackett was a trade unionist and member of the Irish Citizen Army who took part in the 1916 Rising.

rosie hackett Source: Old Dublin Town

Her name was chosen from a shortlist by Dublin councillors at a meeting last year. Those campaigning for it to be used argued that Hackett’s role – like that of many women involved in activism in the early 20th century – had been largely erased from history.

It’s the first new bridge over the Liffey since the Samuel Beckett Bridge in the Docklands was opened in 2009 and cost around €13.5 million, funded by the National Transport Authority.

Speaking at the launch today, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar spoke strongly about Hackett’s role in Irish history.

Beginning his speech, he noted that the 1916 Proclamation”begins with words that were radical for its time: Irishmen and Irishwomen”.

“Unfortunately, in the years after the winning of Irish freedom, we did not always remember that it had been a shared endeavour,” he continued.

“Oftentimes women were airbrushed out of our history, sometimes literally so. Elizabeth O’Farrell was just one of the many women who played a vital part  in the GPO and around Dublin during Easter Week.

“She worked as a nurse and a courier, and delivered ammunition from the GPO to the garrison in the College of Surgeons by hiding it under her clothes.

“There is a famous photograph of Elizabeth O’Farrell on that day, accompanying Pearse to surrender officially in Moore Street. It is famous because you can only see her feet, the rest of her was left out. She had been removed from Irish history.

“In the movie ‘Michael Collins’ her role is played by a man.

History is rewritten all the time, but this rewriting was a particularly cruel betrayal of the very principles of the Rising. The airbrushing of women out of our history.

“The same happened to Rosie Hackett, union leader, organiser, printer nurse, prisoner, fighter and founding member of the Irish Citizens Army.”

He praised Dublin City Council for sending out the “strong statement” today.

“It is a recognition that we for too long have forgotten our own history. For too long we have accepted a lopsided account of our past, and the Irishwomen who worked heroically with Irishmen to create a  new future.

“Rosanna Hackett was just one of many women who played a crucial part in our history. But by honouring her, we honour all those who have been unjustly forgotten.

“Now whenever people cross this bridge they will be reminded of who Rosie Hackett was and what she did.

“Tourists and visitors to the city will Google her name, and discover the part she played in winning Irish freedom. They will hear about her courage, and her example. Curious children will read about her life, and be inspired to go off and read more about her, and the other men and women of that period.”

Additional reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll

Read: From 1000 AD to Samuel Beckett: Dublin’s bridges in 10 fascinating facts…

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