Duleek unveil Kate Kennedy statue

By Finn Mahon

A sculpture of US feminist Kate Kennedy was unveiled in the town of Duleek, outside Duleek Girls National School. Betty Newman Maguire, a commissioned Carnaross sculptor, sculpted it to mark the annual International Women’s Day. The US ambassador for Ireland, Claire Cronin, was there to unveil the statue.

Kate was a native and revolutionary US feminist in the late 1800s. She was born in Gaskinstown, county Meath, where she became the first woman ever to win legal action over equal pay in 1874. Her tenacious agitation for this eventually paid off. As well as that, in the state of California, she ran for public office.

Despite this, She is not well known in her home country as she is in America and across the globe. Duleek locals wanted to change this by rewarding her with a statue of honour and admiration for her achievements. They include the leader, Ken Murray, Paddy McKenna, Cllr Stephen McKee and one of Kate’s relations, Pat Kennedy from Navan.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise funds for an even bigger memorial to her in the centre of Duleek. It will require €60,000 to accomplish this in the coming years.

She passed away in 1890 and a school that was built in her honour which still stands at 1670 Noe Street, San Francisco.

“Kate Kennedy is famous outside Ireland, and her name appears in numerous books celebrating international feminist achievements yet relatively little is known about her here”, Ken Murray said. He also said that she was “a great inspiration to so many female activists who continue to push for real equality”.

There is no doubt that this woman played a huge role in achieving all kinds of rights for women. For this reason, we can be grateful that she had the courage to speak up against what she thought was right.

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