Remove Lord Farnham's statue from Cavan Town

Remove Lord Farnham's statue from Cavan Town

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Stiofán Ó Connachtaigh started this petition to CAVAN COUNTY COUNCIL

Remove Lord Farnham’s statue

Henry Maxwell, the 7th Baron Farnham, has lorded over Cavan town for almost 200 years.  It is time to remove his statue.

First erected following his death in 1868 and funded by a levy exacted on his tenants by his heir, Lord Farnham’s likeness now towers atop a pedestal in the robes of British nobility outside Cavan County Council offices.  It celebrates a proud royalist and notorious proselytising Orangeman, known for lifelong anti-Catholic discrimination and famine-era cruelty. 

During the Great Hunger from 1845, homesteads on Maxwell’s estate were tumbled and burnt and evictions were common.  His soup kitchens were famous for feeding the starving only on the condition they abandon their faith and convert to his.  Cavan by 1851 was the county worst hit by hunger and disease in Ulster, her native language had been dealt a final death knell and within another ten years, 90,000 had emigrated.  Over in Westminster meanwhile, His Lordship was attributing the misery of his dying and fleeing tenants to their own wicked ways and argued for harsher measures to suppress their agitation. 

Commemorating him so prominently in the middle of Cavan town is to condone and celebrate this legacy.  It is an insult to the memory of those whose suffering he inflicted and profited from.  Rather than their landlord, it is the famine’s victims who deserve to be honoured with a memorial and at best, Henry Maxwell’s statue belongs in a museum. 

From Bristol and Belgium to Cape Town and Washington, symbols of colonial oppression and statues of racist, despotic and despicable historical characters have been toppled the world over.  It is time for Cavan to do the same. 

The council must remove the statue of Lord Farnham. 

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