'I would love to give Johnny a Cead Mile Failte' - Metro Mayor on 'Stab City' slur
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has been invited to make a return visit to Limerick to see how the "city has moved on" from its 'Stab City' past.
Metropolitan Mayor Sean Lynch extended the warm welcome to the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star after his comments about a night out in Limerick received some backlash.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Mayor Lynch said: "As someone who worked for An Garda Siochana when unfortunately commentators were using that phrase, it did have a reputation, but that is now past tense, and we have moved on.
“I would love to give a Cead Mile Failte to Johnny Depp and no better man than myself, having worked with the gardai for over 30 years, and being one of a number of people who has brought the city to where it is today, a city that is full of positivity."
Depp's remarks were written in the foreword of a book about Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon.
The actor was recalling a drunken road trip the pair took from Dublin to Kerry in 1991.
"Our brief pit stop proved to be one of the most chaotic nights that I ever remember. Suffice to say we conquered Stab City," he wrote.
While some people were outraged by the comments, Mayor Lynch didn't take offence.
“I’d have no problem entertaining him and giving him a reception, and a tour of the city. We’ve come a long way since he visited the city [in 1991]. There’s no point saying there wasn’t a problem in Limerick – there was, and it took a lot of people to bring it to where it is today.
“We won’t knock him for his comment, but if he’s ever around the country, he should come to Limerick. He owes us that much.”
Former minister Willie O'Dea criticised the actor for using an "outdated and unjust" moniker for the Treaty City.
"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"Not only was Stab City the wrong designation in 1991 but in 2017 it is so out-of-date it is laughable.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 also 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.