Remembering Jerry McSweeney
Taken from us too early in June 2023 was Jerry McSweeney, a core member of Dublin Cycling Campaign in the 1990s and 2000s. Jerry grew up in Dillons Cross, Cork, but lived then for many years in Ballinteer in Dublin. Back in the 1990s Jerry was part of a committed team of volunteers developing the Campaign at a time when cycling was very much on the fringes of transport policy and thinking in the capital - and indeed nationally. Much of the work of the Campaign during that period was spent responding publicly to the many horrific incidents of heavy goods vehicles being driven into people on bikes, particularly on the river quays, and in countering the dismissive official attitudes towards everyday cycling that were dominant at the time.
Jerry was a part of the early street protests which the Campaign organised to raise awareness of the need to radically change conditions for people on bikes. Then, as Dublin Cycling Campaign’s work shifted more towards engaging constructively on consultations on bus priority schemes and on the early iterations of legs of Dublin’s Cycle Network, Jerry was to the fore in rallying the troops. He had an organised and thoughtful mind, and gave a solidity to the organisational side of building a movement. Equally, he enjoyed the social dimensions of campaigning - such as taking part in the lively post meeting debates in Mother Red Cap’s Tavern (Christchurch) or in Ned’s of Moss Street after our meetings in the City Arts Centre. He was also part of the Campaign’s very much DIY presence in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the early days.
Jerry worked in biochemistry in the pathology directorate of St. Vincent’s Hospital as a medical scientist for many years, and during his time there he led in setting up the Bicycle Users’ Group in the hospital. He represented the BUG on the hospital’s transport committee, and helped in organising Bike Week and Bike to Work Day activities. Ultimately this work helped to bring about the provision of far more secure and sheltered bike parking facilities in St. Vincent’s.
Jerry was a great traveller and adventurer, and a long time member of Servas, an international peace association which aims to enable like-minded people to enjoy hospitality in members’ homes and promote international understanding. Additionally he was a member of the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA) and on its National Executive for many years and most recently as Chair of the industrial action sub-committee. On the family front, Jerry took the responsibility of bringing the children, Sharon and Donagh, into his life and doing an excellent job of rearing them. Our thoughts are with them and with Jerry’s wider family and close friends at this time.
Dublin Cycling Campaign wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution that Jerry made to cycle campaigning in Dublin. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Finally, at this time we are also thinking of other Dublin Cycling Campaign members / active volunteers who are no longer with us - amongst them Mick Crowe, Niall O’Cleirigh, Risteárd Mulcahy, Stephen Coyne and Paddy Cahill. They are not forgotten.
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