Put Ó Conaire back in Eyre Square says Connolly

The statue being removed in 2004.

The statue being removed in 2004.

“Confining” the statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire to the Galway City Museum and abandoning the idea of a bronze state to the writer is “an insult to his memory”.

This is the view of Independent councillor Catherine Connolly who said the recommendation by City Hall officials, not to proceed with the bronze sculpture, was “an undermining” of Ó Conaire’s “significant contribution to modern Irish literature”.

This week councillors received a brief written report in relation to the cost of placing a replica bronze statue of Ó Conaire in Eyre Square. The cost is now estimated at €45,000 to cover the statue itself and also the ground works to facilitate same.

As a result, city officials are recommending not to proceed with the replacement statue but to erect a plaque instead at a cost of €5,000. The reasoning behind this is that it would be confusing for tourists to have two statues of Ó Conaire - one at Eyre Square and one in the museum.

Cllr Connolly does not “accept this logic” and has said the recommendation “fails to honour the commitment given to the previous city council when the original statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire was damaged”.

Then, it was agreed to allow the statue to go into the museum for safety reasons but on the assurance that a replacement would be erected as soon as possible.

“More than five years later, not only has this not happened but now the recommendation is not to proceed with a replica. This is not acceptable,” said Cllr Connolly.

She added: “Placing a replica statue back in Eyre Square would not only honour this important Irish writer but also give back a different focus to Eyre Square and indeed draw attention in a most sensitive way to the status of Galway as the bilingual capital of the country.”

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