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Anger over plans to move Christ statue

A landmark in Dun Laoghaire must be put back in its original location, councillors said today.

The famous Christ the King statue in the town's Haigh Terrace is due to be taken down to make way for work on a €40m library.

But Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council does not intend putting it back to its current location.

Instead, the proposal is to install the 18ft bronze monument over the car park entrance of the new building in Moran Park.

However, Labour councillor Jane Dillon Byrne, who was pivotal to the decision in the late 1970s to position the statue at Haigh Terrace, said she is "very unhappy".

She described the work by US-born sculptor Andrew O'Connor as the "most significant piece of art" that Dun Laoghaire council owns.

In its current location, it is one of the first sights to greet visitors sailing into the town's harbour.



visibility

Ms Dillon Byrne said the proposed position "does not give it visibility", except for those attending the new library.

"You could not see it from the harbour. The point of putting it in Haigh Terrace is that it would be seen from the sea and by all the sailors in the harbour," she said.

Independent councillor Victor Boyhan said he is "totally against" the plan.

"The trustees of this monument, after long and protracted deliberations with the old Dun Laoghaire Borough Council, chose this panoramic location to site this Triple Cross," he said.

A council spokesman said the "sculpture must be relocated in order to facilitate the construction of the new library and community facility".

"It will be relocated within the project site at the western end of Moran Park, at the same height it is now. This relocation is part of the contract with the contractors for the building of the new complex."

While the statue was unveiled on Haigh Terrace in 1978, the decision to erect it was made as far back as 1931.

Before it could be installed, however, World War II broke out and it was hidden in France to avoid its three tonnes being melted down for war use.

The statue was delivered to the town in 1949 but, due to clerical opposition to the stark design was not erected.

It remained in a back garden on Rochestown Avenue for many years until it was was unveiled on Haigh Terrace on December 16, 1978.

comurphy@herald.ie


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