HUNDREDS of Southsiders have signed a petition calling on Dublin City Council to rename a local park after a boy who tragically lost his life there in the 1970s.
Some 500 locals have signed a petition urging the council to rename Walkinstown Park after John Doran who was just 11-years-of-age in 1975 when he was fatally electrocuted after he climbed up an electric pylon.
Local resident Laurie Nugent (80) said that at the time of the tragic accident the park was zoned for industrial use but was effectively used as a dumping ground by people.
Laurie and other residents instigated the petition, as they believe it would be a fitting tribute to John if the city council renamed the park after him.
She said that after the accident, she and fellow residents called on the local authority to clean up the wasteland so that local children would have a safe environment to play in.
“I am the instigator of that whole park being there today,” she said. “I am the one who demonstrated, picked the stones and spoke to the Lord Mayor at the time. The corporation handed over the park to us in 1975 after the child was electrocuted.
“Those children on Walkinstown Avenue had nowhere to play so I decided one Friday night to get all of them to stand across the main road to block the traffic until the corporation decided to give them a playing park.”
Irene Doran, John’s sister, said her family was delighted with the move.
In a poignant letter she described how the memory of John had never left the family’s hearts.
“There is not a day goes by that his name is not mentioned,” she said. “Although he was only 11 when he died, John managed to leave us with a lot of memories.
“He was kind, caring, and full of innocent fun. My dad would often speak about how hard it was to chastise him as when he got annoyed John would respond by saying ‘now, now goldilocks’ because my dad was turning grey.”
Ms Doran revealed how it much it meant to the family when they heard about the campaign to have the park renamed after her brother.
“It means so much to us all to learn that Laurie Nugent didn’t leave John’s memory behind. It was a lovely message to hear and my mother, who is still alive, was so glad to hear that her little John is not being forgotten.”
Local Sinn Fein activist Ray McHugh is supporting local efforts to have the park renamed after the dead child.
“We want the council to call this John Doran Park,” he said. “There is no official name on that park. Walkinstown Park is what it is known as locally. We are hoping to get a plaque with his name on it erected in the park as well.
“John’s mother is getting on now,” he added. “She is in her 70s. It would be nice for her to have him remembered in the area where they were a well-established family.”
Mr McHugh said he intended to arrange a meeting with local council officials about the matter in the coming weeks.
Southside People contacted Dublin City Council about the matter but they were not in a position to comment at time of going to press.