Hollywood star Johnny Depp accused of 'libelling' Limerick over 'Stab City' slur
Hollywood star Johnny Depp has been accused of libelling Limerick after referring to it as "Stab City".
Former minister Willie O'Dea has criticised the actor for using an "outdated and unjust" moniker for the Treaty City.
Mr O'Dea has now extended an invitation to Depp to make a return visit to appreciate Limerick's business and cultural achievements.
The controversy arose after Depp made a passing reference to Limerick while penning the foreword to a book about Gerry Conlon, 'In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story'.
In the foreword, entitled 'Upon Thinking on My Long-Lost Brother, Gerry', the actor recalls a drunken road trip the pair took from Dublin to Kerry in 1991.
The 'Edward Scissorhands' star had joined the Conlons on holiday when a trip to the tourist town of Dingle was suggested.
"Gerry decided that we must go to Dingle to see Fungie, the dolphin. Very important. Gerry had no need to convince me, of course I was going to say yes.
"Who wouldn't want to go to a place called Dingle to see a dolphin named Fungie," Depp writes.
Depp explains how after spending the night in an unnamed Dublin pub the pair set off for Dingle, driven by Gerry's friend and armed with two full pints of Guinness.
Conlon and Depp stopped off in Limerick on their way to Dingle and the Hollywood star revealed how things got a little bit out of hand.
"Our brief pitstop in Limerick proved to be one of the most chaotic nights that I can ever remember. Suffice to say, we conquered Stab City," the actor wrote.
However, his throwaway remark about the city has caused controversy.
Mr O'Dea, the local Fianna Fáil TD said he had received calls from constituents upset at the dated term reemerging.
"He's basing this on a visit back in 1991," he said.
"Not only was Stab City the wrong designation in 1991 but in 2017 it is so out-of-date it is laughable. It's a libel on a city."
The longstanding Limerick TD said that while it may have been an offhand comment, the term needed to be tackled on each and every use.
"It was always a grossly unfair and grossly overstated description of Limerick.
"We have worked very hard and come an awful long way and I think it's very unfortunate that someone would choose to resurrect this insult," he added.
Mr O'Dea has now extended an open invitation to the star to make a return to the city.
"I would extend an invitation to this gentleman to meet me on any weekend in Limerick and I'll take him around and show him what Limerick has become.
"I'm available any weekend at all and he'd be more than welcome.
"I'd take him to the industrial parks where there's huge inward investment and I'll take him to all the cultural spots and we can finish off by going for a drink in some of the up-market bars along the river," he added.
Limerick Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ring seconded the call for Depp to make a return visit to the city.
He said the comment was not reflective of modern Limerick and its citizens.
"That comment bares no relation to the Limerick of today.
"Limerick now doesn't really have a crime problem, the gardaí have done wonderful work here and it is a very cultural city.
"I'd love to see Johnny Depp return to the city and we would show him the real Limerick," he said.