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‘A very proud day’: Bronze bust of former UL Chancellor John Murray unveiled

University of Limerick Chancellor Emeritus The Hon. Mr Justice John L Murray with the bronze bust in his honour that was unveiled in UL Picture: Oisin McHugh/True Media
Thu, 11 Jul 2019

A BRONZE bust of University of Limerick Chancellor Emeritus The Hon. Mr Justice John L Murray has been unveiled at the colonnade of the Millstream Courtyard by president Dr Des Fitzgerald.

The bust, designed and sculpted by award winning artist Elizabeth O’Kane, marks the five year term the former Chief Justice held as chancellor at UL.

On hand to unveil the bust commissioned were Justice Murray’s grandchildren, who were amongst a gathering of family, friends and former UL colleagues.

UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said that the two time Attorney General’s links to the institution span a number of decades and noted that during the years of campaigning for Limerick to get its own University, Justice Murray’s late father, Cecil Murray, was a strong and vocal activist for the city and was a member of the Limerick University Project Action Committee.

Indeed on March 6, 1969, Cecil penned an open letter to the Limerick Leader calling out the “faceless men” who were opposed to Limerick getting its own university as he criticised those who stood behind the veil of “establishments” against the proposal. 

“Cecil Murray wrote of the ‘Faceless men who can’t and won’t come out in the open because there is no tenable argument against a Limerick university except for the selfishness of vested interests,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

The UL president went on to say that in the years that followed, Justice John L Murray carried out extraordinary work in drafting the University of Limerick Act 1989 which passed in June that year and allowed UL attain full university status. 

“Through those early links, the appointment of Mr Justice Murray as UL’s chancellor in 2013 allowed this institution draw on his extensive experience and further grow,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

“And to quote something you said at the time of your appointment here as Chancellor at UL, ‘Learning and education concern the soul of a nation’, that is something that remains at the core of this University,” he added.

Mr Justice Murray said that it was a “very proud day” for him and his family who had gathered at UL for the unveiling as “very strong links” would always remain with UL.

Yvonne Davis, curator at University of Limerick, said that the bust was the second piece of artwork sculpted by Elizabeth O’Kane that now resides on the UL campus – her “Giant Irish Elk” was unveiled at the opening of the Munster Rugby High Performance Centre in 2017.