The people of Moate will have a say on the location of the new Gráinne Óg statue which is to be placed in the town.
The original 23ft bronze statue, which was installed at the Moate interchange along the M6 motorway, was stolen in March of this year.
Speaking at this week’s Athlone Area meeting arts office for Westmeath County Council, Catherine Kelly, explained that an insurance settlement of €55,000 was available to replace the stolen statue, with the requirement that the statue would be reinstated in the town, and that it would be placed in a more secure and populated area.
“The original design was for a motorway so we’re looking at redesigning it. There are four different locations in Moate town that are possible locations and that aren’t as isolated. The original artist is redesigning it for an urban and pedestrian environment.”
The new statue will be much shorter, reaching a total height of between 15 and 16 ft and will have more detail and texture as well as a plaque to explain the meaning behind it.
There are four possible locations for the new statue: in front of the court house, opposite St Patrick’s Catholic church, at the fork in the road in front of the Gap House, or in the planned amenity park.
Ms Kelly stressed the importance of placing the statue in a high profile location with a lot of traffic. “It’s going to be a disaster if we put it back up and it gets stolen again. This is a nice opportunity for Moate to get a new focal point for the town.”
Cllr Tom Allen expressed his interest in placing the statue in the proposed amenity park. “It will hopefully be a busy park...If we placed it out in the water it would be in a secure place,” he said. Fellow Moate councillor Joe Whelan agreed that the wetlands area of the proposed park would be a nice location.
Director of Services Barry Kehoe suggested that the area in front of the court house could be a suitable option as it would allow for the clean-up of the area which would enhance the appearance of the court house.
Cllr Allen was concerned that this would take away valuable car parking places. “It might look good but I’m sure we’ll get a lot of kick back,” he added.
Cllr “Boxer” Moran suggested that the people of Moate should have a say in the statue’s new location. “It’s a very fine sculpture and if the amenity park is going to have a lot of fine features maybe it would be more beneficial to have it in the town,” added Cllr Mark Cooney.
Cllr Gabrielle McFadden suggested that a public consultation be carried out through the council’s website so the people of Moate can put forward their opinion on the new statue and its location.