Penny-wise council slow to acquire McGowan boat
THE boat rowed single-handedly by Limerick man, Sean McGowan across the Atlantic Ocean, is more likely to be acquired by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art than Limerick City Council, according to a city councillor
Director of services, Pat Dowling, revealed the council is not in a position to purchase the boat, Tess.
The issue arose as a result of a notice of motion submitted by Cllr Kathleen Leddin: “That the council take steps to acquire the boat as a mark of respect for this achievement and to commemorate the honour which Mr McGowan brought to the city.
“In this year in which Limerick has been designated European City of Sport it would be apt that we honour the Corinthian ideals which an amateur oarsman, such as Mr McGowan, embodies.
“His voyage was one of endurance, hardship and triumph and his success is an example of the indomitable spirit that renders all tasks conquerable – not only would we be respecting this fine achievement but we would be setting an example for all future Limerick athletes that no goal is unattainable – for these reasons we should seek to keep the boat, Tess in Limerick for future generations”.
Cllr Leddin pleaded the boat must not be left go out of Limerick.
“If Sean McGowan was a Galway man or a Cork man, they would be clamouring to come forward with money – the sum of €20,000, which Mr Dowling suggested, is not insurmountable to achieve and there is money being spent by the council in other ways that could be sourced.”
Cllr Cormac Hurley, who said he would contribute €1,000, described Mr McGowan’s achievement as phenomenal, and Cllr Kevin Kiely, willing to donate €1,200, said that unfortunately, the issue is “down to money.
“If we don’t have it, would Mr McGowan consider donating Tess to the city, I wonder”.
Cllr Pat Shortt said that for a young man who discovered how to row on the Shannon river, “look how far it has taken him.
“Mr McGowan made videos documenting his epic voyage which could become a contemporary story – I understand how he might want to realise some value from the boat and if we could put forward seed funding, it could be added to”.
Referring to “the huge tradition of boating in the city,” Cllr Leddin suggested that this should be built on, and in support, Cllr Denis McCarthy suggested:
“There are 17 of us – if we each donated €1,250”.
Pointing out that this would have to be approved by the full council, Mr Dowling said:
“We will try to find the money from the next Estimates – I’ve already told Mr McGowan that we can’t justify the cost at this particular time”.
Cllr Michael Hourigan recommended that the funding should come from the Estimates in six months time, to which Cllr Leddin replied:
“We should be proactive now in securing the boat,, in this year when Limerick is the European City of Sport – the amount of money is not prohibitive but if we are not careful we will lose this boat which marks the magnificent and heroic achievement of a great Limerick sportsman”.