Freeman or Fountain? Why pedestrian crossing may be the most fitting tribute
Seeking to suitably honour the late Davy Daniels, the Munster Express is championing a fitting and lasting memorial to our former colleague — a man described as a colossus of Waterford politics and the ultimate ‘City Father’.
A native of St Alphonsus Road and resident of Viewmount, Davy was laid to rest in Tramore on Friday 13th January following a robed guard of honour at his Requiem Mass in St Joseph & St Benildus Church by his fellow councillors, who met in special session the previous afternoon to pay tributes to their absent friend.
The passing of one of Waterford’s most recognisable and effective public representatives was greeted with an immense sadness and widespread expressions of sympathy to Davy’s beloved wife Mary, sons Liam and David, his sister Mary and extended family.
Twice City Mayor before the 2014 amalgamation with the County Council, Davy also wore the Metropolitan chain of office in 2020. A consistent poll-topper over half a century, and a constant campaigner to improve Waterford’s lot, his popularity was legion across all walks of life.
Former Independent councillor Cha O’Neill, one of Davy Daniels’ closest allies and friends, has suggested that the legendary elected representative — who chalked up 49 years of public service across nine local elections — be made a posthumous Freeman of the City. Given what he did for Waterford over such a span of time, “he should be up there with any of them,” Cha said.
However, other options may capture the imagination. One excellent suggestion, which could go down well with voters, is that the new pedestrian bridge over the River Suir, linking the
South and North Quays, be named after Davy, who was a national-level race walker in the sixties and seventies.
Dedicating the Clock Tower crossing to his memory could make for a fitting tribute given that he also worked as an excellent and loyal advertising rep in our offices on the Quay for over three decades.
Enabling works have started on the South Plaza, which will link the new bridge to the Waterford Greenway via the Bilberry extension that runs alongside the old Foundry site, where Davy worked before joining the Munster.
The 220m sustainable bridge project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2026, by which time a new council will have been elected. Current members could be keen to pass a “naming” motion honouring Davy Daniels’ legacy before their term ends in May of next year.
Cllr Joe Kelly (Ind) floated the idea that the Fountain in the People’s Park be restored and named after Davy, such was his dedication to getting it fixed and constant promotion of the amenity.
There are precedents for Freeman honours to be awarded to deceased citizens. In March of this year, Derry City and Strabane District Council posthumously granted the Freedom of the City and District to long-serving NHS nurse Pat McManus, who died of Covid-19 in the early months of the pandemic.
In 2021, Henry de Bromhead became Waterford’s 34th Freeman. A devoted follower of the ‘Sport of Kings’, Davy “stole the show” with his impassioned tribute to the Knockeen trainer at a civic reception in Tramore Racecourse.
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JAMIE O’KEEFFE The Munster Express Editor firstname.lastname@example.org