Hurling statue set for parade, but cash is lost

Kilkenny’s long-awaited statue to honour the county’s hurlers will be on the Parade when it is finally built, but the original sum of money set aside for is not available.

Kilkenny’s long-awaited statue to honour the county’s hurlers will be on the Parade when it is finally built, but the original sum of money set aside for is not available.

Funding for the project was last year thought to have been secured, following consultation with those involved in the Percent for Art scheme. With the completion of the M9 motorway, €150,000 was understood to be set aside for public artwork.

Now it seems this is no longer the case. The revealation was made at a recent meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, when Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) asked that a specific sum of money be ringfenced.

“I am conscious that, in these straitened times, putting aside money for art might seem inappropriate,” he said.

“But we have a major gap in our public realm. I would be stunned if there were objections to this. The sum is a modest one, but I hope the Percent for Art scheme can be used.

“Given the rich hurling tradition in Kilkenny, I think it is long overdue we begin the process to put in place an appropriate monument to hurling in Kilkenny.”

However, Cllr Joe Reidy (FF) revealed that the fund in question was no longer available.

“This was asked a number of years ago, but we didn’t put any money aside,” he said.

“It was brought up at the Municipal Policy Committee, and there are a number of possible designs. The Percent for Art scheme is gone as far as I know, so we are going to have to fund it ourselves. We should open a tender process as soon as possible.

“There is only one place for it, and that is on the Parade. We need to come up with a design we are all happy with.”

Cllr Andrew McGuinness suggested something along the lines of the Ted Williams monument in Fenway Park, Boston, which depicts a baseball player handing down a cap to a young child.

Mayor Sean O’ hArgain said: “I think there is unanimity for this to be put in place on the Parade.”