A bronze bust of John J. Hearne, who has been called the “architect-in-chief” of the Irish constitution, was officially unveiled at the Bishop’s Palace garden by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan earlier today.
Also in attendance were UK and soon-to-be US Ambassador Waterford man Dan Mulhall, the Mayor of Waterford City and County Pat Nugent, as well as members of the Berlinger family, who are Swiss-based descendants of John Hearne.
Today’s ceremony was particularly timely, as it marked the 80th anniversary of the drafting of Bunreacht na hEireann.
Speaking to WLR News, Martin Berlinger, John Hearne’s grandson said it was an emotional event for he and his family.
“Today the unveiling of the bust was probably the pinnacle of our emotions,” he said, “we hope to be able to have a bit more relaxed evening and maybe have a pint!”
John Hearne also played a key role in the drafting of the constitution of Ghana, something Mr. Berlinger said was a lesser known achievement of his.
“Those (African) countries were becoming independent and there was always a shortage of people who have experience drafting constitutions.”
Curator of the Waterford Museum of Treasures, Eamonn McEneaney said today’s event was a great opportunity to honour another influential Waterford person.
“People in cities and other places are taken at their own estimation of themselves,” he said, “we’ve produced some great men and women – people like (Thomas Francis) Meagher, (John J.) Hearne, William Vincent Wallace, Theresa Deevy and others – they inspire people.”