Youghal Pensioner Promises to Escalate Dispute in Clock Gate Stand Off

By Seamus Whelehan


A pensioner who helped create a unique tourist attraction in Youghal that holds many stories of pain and rebellion, love, friendship and generosity, says he has no plans to de-escalate his war with the owners of the museum. John McGrath, whose family lived in Youghal’s Clock Gate Tower for almost 50 years, occupied the tourist attraction last Thursday when officials refused him permission to erect the photographic display containing his family crest.

Owned by Cork County Council the Clock Gate was renovated and opened as a tourist attraction in 2017, with a reconstruction of the McGrath family sitting room forming part of the tourist display. The eighty year old, who was born in the Clock Gate, has said since last week’s 6 hour sit in protest there’s been “a defining silence” from the Local Authority. Not willing to back down, Mr McGrath told The East Cork Journal that the Council were initially in favour of the display but, for reasons unknown to him, the montage was later rejected. He said while he’s open to a compromise, Cork County Council haven’t shown him what they want put on display.

In a statement to The East Cork Journal the Local Authority say they have “actively engaged with Mr. McGrath to reach a compromise which would be in keeping with, and appropriate to, the sensitivity and integrity of the Clock Tower experience.” They say while it is unfortunate that he has refused to accept any attempt to reach a middle ground, the Council is happy that the solution offered was accommodating and appropriate. Leaving the door open for further negotiations, the Council said it “is happy to discuss the matter further with Mr. McGrath should he wish to reconsider his position.”