Cllrs put kibosh on ‘Brand Blarney’ statue over costs
THE kibosh was put on the erection of a statue which would cost €47,500 in a car park in Blarney by councillors when they heard that, for it to go ahead, their “precious” Town Development Fund would also have to cough up over €7,000.
At the Blarney-Macroom municipal district meeting, Anne Collins, senior executive officer at Cork County Council told councillors under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for this year, there had been an approval of €47,500 to erect a statue “dedicated to chieftain McCarthy’s” of which the funding came from the Department of Arts and Heritage.
In a letter circulated at the meeting, Marie O’Leary, Municipal District Officer, stated that she had emailed members recently regarding a proposal by Avondhu Blackwater Partnership along with Brand Blarney to which the grant had been approved. Councillors heard that the sculpture would form part of an overall project proposed for the car park which would also involve the council’s Architects Department along with the Tourism Department.
However, to avail of the funding, it would mean the Council would have to provide a “minimum of 15% matching funding” towards any project, which would mean €7,125 would have to come from the Town Development Fund (TDF).
As noted by Marie O’Leary, it is proposed that this amount will be allocated from the 2017 Town Development Fund of €100,000.
Chairman Cllr Bob Ryan (FF) described the proposed arrangement as “bizarre,” while Cllr Michael Creed (FG) pointed out that the erection of any statue would require planning permission.
Ms Collins said a circular was sent by the Department of Arts and Heritage for groups to submit their applications, but as it was a very short time frame to submit, the only applications it had received came from Avondhu Blackwater Partnership along with Brand Blarney.
Ms Collins said each district which had applied and if funding was granted would receive €47,500 each.
Cllr Kevin Conway ( Ind) said while he welcomes funding for the Blarney district, this proposal “flies in the face of democracy.” He also said even if was erected it would be not be seen by anyone - unless people were walking up the hill to go to Mass.
Cllr Ryan (FF) said the money which they had in the TDF was “precious” but he would not agree to give just over €7,000 of it for a statue in a car park. Cllr Creed (FG) was firmly of the view that this proposal had “nothing in the world” to do with a TDF.
Councillors wanted the €47,500 to go into the coffers of the TDF but were firmly told by Ms Collins that this grant was issued by the Department of Heritage and Arts and moreover, the money had to be used in a “reasonable time.”
“There is a strong emphasis of use it or lose it,” she said.
However, councillors were of the view that they wouldn’t sanction any money from the TDF to go towards the erection of the statue.
“All I can say, is good luck to the Chieftain McCarthy and all belonged to him, but I’m not agreeing to this and I’m not agreeing to over €47,500 for a statue,” said Cllr Ryan (FF).