Cork faces big bill to fix its own Big Ben
A CITY council is to examine the cost of emergency repairs to one of the country's most famous tourist landmarks, Cork's Shandon clock.
The clock – known as 'the four-faced liar' because its various clock faces consistently display different times – is regarded as Cork's equivalent to Big Ben in London.
However, the clock, topped by a salmon wind vane nicknamed 'the goldie fish', hasn't been working for almost three weeks and is stuck at a time of 6.50.
Cork City Council said it was aware of the problem but couldn't opt for a quick-fix solution because the clock's mechanism was so old it required expert repair.
Furthermore, the clock's last major service occurred in 1990 and repairs could prove extensive and costly.
However, the council is to fast-track a repair estimate amid an outcry from local politicians, community groups and tourism interests.
Former Trade Minister and Cork TD Billy Kelleher (FF) said Shandon clock ranked alongside Blarney Castle and St Fin Barre's Cathedral as an iconic image of Ireland's second city.
"Cork without a working Shandon clock would be like Paris without the Eiffel Tower lit up, New York without the Empire State building being open or London without Big Ben working," he said.
Cork community campaigner Barry Keane said the council should consider low-cost options as a temporary measure if expert repairs proved costly or unavailable until 2014.