Press Release 12th May 2015.
Cllr Connolly said she very much welcomes the decision by City Council to put a Bronze Replica of the Padraig O’Conaire Statue into Eyre Square.
Councillor Connolly said she has long campaigned for a replica statute of Padraig O’Conaire to go back into Eyre Square and is delighted it is finally going to happen.
She said the original statue was erected in Eyre Square in 1935 and was carved from Irish Limestone by the sculptor, Albert Power.
The statue remained in Eyre Square for 64 years and notwithstanding that it was relocated three times within the square during that period it remained a focal point for Galwegians and visitors alike. Indeed she said it became an essential landmark and a symbol of Galway and must have been one of the most photographed and loved statues of any City.
Unfortunately said Cllr Connolly, the statue had to be repaired a number of times both because of wear and tear and damage from wanton acts of vandalism. Following the worst attack on the statue when the head was broken off the neck, a decision was taken to repair the statute but relocate it firstly to the grounds of the City Council and subsequently in 2006 to the City Museum for safety where it remains to this day.
Councillor Catherine Connolly said she was one of the Councillors who agreed with this relocation based on the expert advice that the statue would not survive any further acts of vandalism. At the same time however it was decided by the Council that a replica statue of Padraic O’Conaire would be erected in Eyre Square as a matter of urgency.
Unfortunately she said it has taken 9 years and the determination of the majority of City Councillors to ensure that this decision was implemented by City Management who finally confirmed at last Monday night’s Council meeting that the proposed replica bronze statue is going to tender and it is envisaged that it will be erected by September 2015.
Cllr Connolly said that placing a replica statue back in Eyre Square will not only honor this wonderful Irish writer who made a significant contribution to both modern Irish and English literature but also give back a different focus to Eyre Square.
She said she also hopes that it will the first step in a process of the City Council and Councillors examining how best to celebrate Galway’s writers and is happy that this issue is now on the Council Agenda for development.