Plans are at an advanced stage to erect a memorial stone to honour former American House SpeakerTip O’Neill in Buncrana this year.
Tip O’Neill, whose grandmother Eunice Fullerton resided in Buncrana in the 19th century, was the American Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of the most influential men in American politics.
Mayor of Buncrana Nicholas Crossan said he and Colr Michael Grant met with the Tip O’Neill planning group and announced they would meeting them soon within ten days.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of Buncrana Town Council, Colr Crossan said they hoped to set a set around April or May this year to unveil the stone to the public.
“We hope to be able to invite the American ambassador to Buncrana because Tip was such a great man and this would be great publicity for Buncrana. We could even have a Tip O’Neill weekend, it’s very important to get this kick started and to put Buncrana on the map.”
Town engineer Donal Walker admitted there were so ‘preparatory’ work to do, but said the stone had been sent away to Carndonagh.
Colr Grant said they were delighted with the ‘very positive feedback’ they have received so far, but that it was ‘time to move on and get the ball rolling’.
“This is important for Buncrana because this is his relatives home place and it’s important we can unveil it once and for all and made Buncrana a permanent place for Tip O’Neill to be remembered.”
Long standing Fianna Fail councillor Joe Doherty said there are second cousins of Tip’s still living in the Inishowen area, and it would be important to invite them to any events held in his honour.
Chairperson of the Inishowen Tourism board of management, councillor Lee Tedstone said the tourism office were very interested in the Tip O’Neill memorial and said they would be happy to lend a hand in organising events in any way.
Sinn Fein Councillor Mary Kelly queried whether it would be possible to erect a plaque near his relative home as there is currently a group in the town who are hoping to create designated walks in that area.
“They also hope to contact the family and hopefully restore his house and develop a small parking area.”
Colr Crossan commended the idea saying: “They would have the full support of this council if they wished to do that. He concluded: “I think this could be very big for Buncrana and this Council, from little acorns, big oaks grow...”