BY JACKIE KEOGH
GUGLIELMO Marconi, the great pioneer of radio communications, has been commemorated in sculpture form at the base of the hill leading to Brow Head.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten, said he was aware that nothing had been done to honour the memory of Marconi in Crookhaven until now, saying: ‘I think it is great that he is being acknowledged here today.’
The minister said: ‘The reality is that the whole telecom sector hasn’t been topical, or sexy, up until the last few years. I remember being in the Dáil and talking about high speed broadband 15 or 20 years ago and people were looking at me as if I had two heads.
‘They couldn’t understand why I would be raising these issues inside in the Dáil. But everyone is talking about broadband now.
‘The whole communications area has changed and changed dramatically and the reality is that Marconi was a leader in his day in relation to the telecommunications sector. The communications sector changed globally on foot of the experiment that he did in 1901 from Cornwall to West Cork. The fact that he could pick up reception – and that it wasn’t by line of sight – for the first time ever transformed the telecommunications industry in that era.
‘We are doing the same thing now with fibre and it is going to transform the economy of Ireland like nothing has done before. This is going to blow the transformation that we have seen in the past, in relation to electricity, and make it look like a damp squib once we deliver on this.’
The work of art by sculptor Susan O’Toole features a seated figure with a cupped hand to his left ear, his right arm outstretched towards a steel spiral, symbolising an electromagnetic wave.
Michael Collins TD, then chairman of the Goleen and District Community Council, commissioned Susan O’Toole to create the work of art and it is dedicated to Michael R O’Donovan, a local historian and archaeologist, who championed the project from the start.