PATRICK Sarsfield will not be moving from Cathedral Place into the city centre.
That was the message from two Fianna Fáil councillors at Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting of Limerick City and County Council.
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon proposed that the Council prepare a report on how to enhance the area at Cathedral Place where the Sarsfield statue is located. He wants additional lighting, history displays, flower arrangements and general cleaning to be considered.
However, Independent councillor John Gilligan, who last month had a motion passed calling for the statue to be moved to a more central city centre location, was far from impressed.
He described Cllr O’Hanlon’s proposal as “an attempt to frustrate the will of the people”.
Cllr Gilligan hit out at the council executive and said that a “contradictory” motion could not be proposed within six months of his own.
However, Director of Services, Kieran Lehane maintained that the two motions did not “impact on each other”.
Cllr O’Hanlon then told Cllr Gilligan that his motion was passed without his support and made it clear that the people of St John’s Parish were against the statue leaving its current location.
“I know a 98-year-old woman in St Camillus’ Hospital that is willing to chain herself to the railings if they think about moving Patrick Sarsfield from where he has been for the last 150 years,” he declared.
Cllr Gilligan suggested that this 98-year-old woman was made up and instead created by Cllr O’Hanlon to serve his “ego”.
Cllr Jerry O’Dea (FF) seconded Cllr O’Hanlon’s motion, describing it as “well thought out” proposal. He also claimed that members of the public expressed their anger to him over talks of moving the statue.
“Patrick Sarsfield will not be going anywhere. The people of Garryowen do not want him moved,” he insisted.
Independent councillor John Loftus supported Cllr Gilligan and felt the monument should be moved to Sarsfield Bridge.
He went on to say that he first discovered the Patrick Sarsfield monument by “accident” when he first moved to Limerick.
“I was left thinking, who is this guy peeking out of the bushes?”