Just what is it about Limerick and erecting statues of people that look nothing like them?
anthony foley statue

Statue touted as resembling Anthony Foley, recently placed in Robert Byrne Park


Apparently the mayor of Limerick went on a solo run this week and didn’t tell the council that he was planning on installing the statue of Anthony Foley in Robert Byrne Park on the banks of the Shannon. In other words, we’ve got a rogue mayor who’s unilaterally erecting statues around the place, presumably because he gets to stick his name in the corner.
 
Now, this might not seem like a big deal to you. Even though the statue of Anthony Foley looks less like him than the statue of King Arthur / Burger King / King Limerick looks like Richard Harris. Having viewed it yesterday, it reminds me of those extra-large installations you sometimes see in Irish graveyards. You know, tacky central with an angel floating on top of a soccer ball and the like. While I was there two stray dogs peed against it but at least we can’t blame that on current mayor and rogue statue-erector Kieran O’Hanlon.
 
The interesting thing about mayors installing statues without telling people is that, if that’s reasonable practice, you’d want to be careful about who you elect as mayor. It’s one thing to give someone who’s vaguely racist a platform and a 50k salary for the year (Limerick has form here in the past decade), which we’re apparently going to do next Monday with Stephen Keary, but if they all get to plonk statues around the city without asking, the Fianna Fail lad has created a nice precedent for some of the more fringe parties so disliked by the main two. Using what we’ll call the O’Hanlon Precedent I’m sure they’ll take some pleasure in dropping down statues to some of their own fallen heroes when they eventually get to form a grand coalition and occupy the mayor’s office for five years.I will buy the biggest bag of popcorn possible on the day the Fine Gael lads lose their shit after a Sinn Fein mayor installs a statue of Sean South without asking.

Most cities have rules about statues, plaques and street-namings that the person who gets commemorated has to be dead for a reasonable period of time. Twenty years is pretty much standard and, generally speaking, that standard exists for good reasons. That should be the standard in Limerick, though Anthony Foley was beloved enough in Limerick that I’m sure the county council would have made an exception to such a hypothetical rule if they’d been asked.
 
None of this would matter so much if it wasn’t a really fucking ugly statue that resembles the person whom it’s supposed to commemorate only in that he’s wearing a headguard and carrying a ball. Oddly enough, the person it most resembles is probably current metropolitan mayor of Limerick, Michael Hourigan. I don’t think anybody ever compared Anthony Foley to mayor mumbler before this statue was erected but unfortunately this is where we find ourselves. It also resembles Donald Trump and Les Dennis. The one person it doesn’t look like at all is Anthony Foley.
 
Obviously I can’t wait for the upcoming Terry Wogan statue unveiling. It’s going in the middle of Poor Man’s Kilkee. Surely there’s no way that Limerick city would get three statues in a row that look nothing like the person they’re depicting. I mean, the odds have to be on our side this Saturday. They have to be, right?
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