TAUGHMACONNEL, IRELAND - After approximately 10 years of planning, organizing, fundraising and working hand-in-hand with local and county authorities, the Taughmaconnell Heritage Group finally saw their hard work rewarded when, on Oct. 15, a bronze bust of John Gately Downey was unveiled in the tiny village of Taughmaconnell, in South County Roscommon, Ireland.The village of Taughmaconnell is adjacent to the town of Castlesampson, where Downey was born and raised. The effort to erect the memorial was led by Michael Moore, chairman of the Heritage Group. The Heritage Group also published an informative booklet detailing many of the highlights of Downey's career in politics and business, as well as his civic and philanthropic contributions. Daniel Rooney, the American Ambassador to Ireland, was on hand for the statue's unveiling. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a congratulatory letter to the Heritage Group to mark the occasion. (Schwarzenegger and Downey share a special distinction in that they are the only foreign-born governors of California.) The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors marked the occasion by issuing a proclamation which detailed Downey's contributions to Los Angeles County, the city of Los Angeles, the state of California, and the nation. The city of Downey also issued a proclamation. John Vincent, president of the Downey Historical Society, also submitted a congratulatory letter. "Even the predictably rainy Irish weather cooperated, and the unveiling took place under clear skies," the Heritage Group wrote in an e-mail to the Patriot. "A large crowd assembled to witness the event and listened attentively to the many speeches given by the local politicians and other invited dignitaries. Following the unveiling, the assembled throng retired to the local parish hall, where food and refreshments were served and a good time was had by all." The city of Downey was named for John Gately Downey, whose land company owned property that was subdivided to create this city.
********** Published: November 18, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 31