Cllrs put ki­bosh on ‘Brand Blar­ney’ statue over costs

The Corkman - - NEWS - MARIA HERLIHY

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).

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