03 Oct 2022

Dungloe memorial for Tunnel Tigers

Meeting held: New committee now on the look-out for suitable site

Dungloe memorial for Tunnel Tigers

A photo taken of Donegal Tunnel Tigers in Scotland in 1955. A new committee has been formed and plans are in place to organise a special Tunnel Tigers memorial which will be located in Dungloe

Donegal Tunnel Tigers who died tragically in the course of their work over the years are to be remembered with a special memorial in their honour in Dungloe.

This is the decision of the newly formed Donegal Tunnel Tigers Memorial Committee which held their inaugural meeting in Dungloe recently.

“There was no special reason mentioned why Dungloe was selected for the memorial other than it is the Rossess capital and the majority of those killed are from the Rosses, Gaoth Dobhair and the Falcarragh areas,” the newly elected chairman of the Donegal Tunnel Tigers Memorial Commitee, Hugh Rogers, told the Democrat.

Tony McFadden from Falcarragh, the President of the Donegal Association in London, is the vice -chairman of the new commiteee and Caitriona Boyle is the first secretary.

“We had a very good first meeting and very good turnout of people from all parts of the county,” Mr. Rodgers said.

“We had people from Inishowen, Glencolmcille, Downings, Carrigart, Letterkenny and Fanad. In all 70 people turned up.

“We formed a committee and the only other decision we took was that the memorial should be in Dungloe. So now we are on the look out for a site. We are not quite sure yet what form the memorial will take and that is something we will discuss in more depth at our next meeting.

“It is now a matter of obtaining a site and if there is anyone out there that has a suitable site or ideas about what would be a suitable site, we would love to hear from them.”

The new committee also have funding in place for the memorial after receiving pledges from four building contractors who attended Saturday’s meeting. The committee can be contacted on the Donegal Tunnel Tigers page on Facebook.

About the Tunnel Tigers

The 'Donegal Tunnel Tigers' are explained succinctly in this brief piece from:

"The Donegal Tigers are a group of young north-west Donegal men who travel the world constructing tunnels. They worked in the 1940s and 1950s on the subways of New York, Britain and elsewhere to dig the tunnels that provided important infrastructure. The 1990s saw them work on the Channel Tunnel between England and France, and they are currently being courted to work on the 17 billion euro expansion of the London subway network.

"Back in the 1960's and 1970's, Neil Mulholland was one of the famed Tunnel Tigers. He took a lot of pride in the accomplishments of the Donegal men who did the work noting that before his time, Donegal men broke the world record for tunneling in the north of Scotland: "They beat the Yanks," he chimed with a grin. Neil spent about 17 years at the work, travelling between his Rosses home and north Scotland, western Wales and the English midlands to dig tunnels and mine coal. "The young men went to wherever the money was best. It was among the best-paid work in Britain. The work however would bring later life health complications for many men including Neil who at 45 was diagnosed with silicosis, the degenerative lung disease."

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