THREE MEN have appeared in court accused of causing criminal damage after they blacked out the name of Queen Victoria on several street signs in Cork city.
According to The Irish Examiner, the three men admitted blacking out the name Victoria on street signs in Cork in February 2017, but denied criminal damage.
The signs-- on both sides of Victoria Road, both signs on Victoria Cross Road and one sign on Victoria Street-- were covered with black paint, particularly the name 'Victoria' in both English and Irish.
Detective Garda Neil Walsh, giving evidence, stated that the damage appeared to have been carried out as part of the Cork Street Names movement, which campaigns against names of the British monarchy being used as street names.
Detective Walsh added that the campaign refers to Victoria as the 'Famine Queen' due to her presiding over the Great Hunger in Ireland.
The three men up in court had identified themselves as being responsible via an article in the Irish Examiner at the time, and one of the three had been interviewed on the radio about the acts.
They each accepted that they had painted over the street signs but denied criminal damage, stating it was politically motivated as their relatives had been treated badly by the British when Ireland was under the monarchy, and also made reference to the Burning of Cork by the Black and Tans.
An Irish-language interpreter was present at the court, The Irish Examiner reports, as one of the men, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla asserted his right to have his case dealt with through Irish.
Judge Paul Kelly acknowledged that the three men were sincere in their motivation for painting the signs but said it did not entitle them to break the law.
Rather than impose a fine or sentence, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, Tom O'Connor and Tony Walsh were ordered by the judge to pay €250 each to the Society of St Vincent de Paul.