Wednesday 12 December 2018

Petition for statue of Prince Albert to be removed from Leinster House lawn rejected by Oireachtas Committee

The statue is on the Merrion Square side of Leinster House
The statue is on the Merrion Square side of Leinster House
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A controversial statue of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, will remain on the Leinster House lawn after TDs and senators suggested it be given greater prominence despite a petition calling for it to be removed.

Members of the Oireachtas Petitions Committee determined the request inadmissible today because the Houses of the Oireachtas do not own the statue.

They have called on the OPW to determine who owns it.

The petition was put forward by a member of the public who said the statue should be removed because it pays tribute to a “monarch whose views are in opposition to that of the Irish Republic.”

She suggested the statue be auctioned and the proceeds distributed to a homeless charity.

Committee members suggested it be relocated away from its current site near the Oireachtas carpark among hedging to celebrate its Irish sculptor JH Foley 200 years after he was born.

“A civilised people does not tear out the pages of history but turns them over,” committee chair Sean Sherlock said.

Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer said the idea of relocating the statue to a more prominent location should be considered. He said it would be a fitting tribute to its Irish sculptor John H Foley.

The statue is currently located on the Merrion Street side of Leinster House near the carpark among hedging.

“It is fitting that we are commemorating 200 years of the sculptor’s life in May of this year,” said Mr Buttimer.

“I think perhaps, in conjunction with the OPW and the Houses of the Oireachtas, could we consider relocating the statue as well.

“Prince Albert was a progressive social reformer. He was against slavery, against child labour and he wanted to increase the working age.”

Mr Sherlock suggested it might be better to treat the area around the statue so that it will be given greater prominence and said it was important to determine ownership of the statue.

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