Revealed: amazing story of university campaign

Alan English, editor

Reporter:

Alan English, editor

THE long, hard campaign for a Limerick university is to be recalled in a special Limerick Leader supplement, after archivists at the paper made a discovery of historic local importance.

THE long, hard campaign for a Limerick university is to be recalled in a special Limerick Leader supplement, after archivists at the paper made a discovery of historic local importance.

An extraordinary collection of photographs depicting local people on the streets of Limerick campaigning for a university will be showcased in the supplement, which will be published in two weeks’ time.

There are more than 100 photographs from several different protest rallies and the vast majority were never published.

In fact, they were never even developed from the original negatives. We believe their belated publication will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the University of Limerick – which is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary – or indeed in Limerick itself.

An examination of the Leader files throughout the 1960s reveals just how remarkable a campaign it was.

We will republish many of the most intriging aspects of it, including some fascinating letters to the editor.

We also reveal that a sensational, anonymous column published in 1966 – which amounted to a trenchant attack on the local students who took to the streets in support of a university – was penned by a well known figure in local life.

The column also stated that there would “never be a Limerick university in our lifetime”, a prediction which proved very wide of the mark.

We are also calling on our readers to help us.

Because the photographs were never used, there are no captions with most of them. Can you help us to identify people in them? We’d like to catch up with some of those who took to the streets and ask them about their memories of that time.

So if you can help, please email alan.english@limerickleader.ie or call the office on 061-214503.

This campaign was inspirational in many ways.

We are sure our readers will enjoy reading about it and we hope you can also help us to tell an amazing story.