Cobh Municipality to Decide on Controversial Jack Doyle Sculpture

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cobh Municipality will meet on Thursday 18 July to determine the fate of a controversial application to erect a statue of the town’s famous son, Jack Doyle.

The Councillors have already made their position clear that they are in favour of having it installed in Kennedy Park, but asked for proof that the group behind the project have the funds to complete the plan.

Born on 13 August 1913 into a working class family, Doyle was at one time a contender for the British Boxing Championship, a Hollywood actor and a Tenor.

While Doyle appeared to have it all - film star looks, wonderful voice and a powerful right hook, his fists got him into trouble.

Countless men resented his success with the opposite sex and alleged that several women in his life were left battered and bruised.

The Sculpture will represent Jack in a seated position, on a bench, with one arm outstretched along a railing.

The eye-catching piece is estimated to cost in the region of €50,000.

Cobh Municipality Executive Clerk, Paraig Lynch, told Councillors on Monday 8 July “if Council decide to grant planning for the statue then the area is designated a location for that particular statue “

Fine Gael Cllr Sinead Sheppard said the District should defer their decision until the group behind the Jack Lynch statue could prove they had the funds to complete the project.

Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry said “if this site is solely sterilised for this sculpture and it doesn’t materialise because lack of funding, it’s kind of a daft situation to be putting yourself in.”

Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen said “we are concerned that we will be here in three years’ time, having allocated €8,000, and it sitting there.”

He said “there are other groups looking and considering issues which they may want to bring to the Council in relation to other matters inside Kennedy Park.”

There was one submission received from Hendrick Verwey on behalf of Cobh Tourism who said he was uneasy “erecting a statue to honour a person who was violent towards women.”

“Tourism is very important to the economy of Cobh. The town therefore needs to be careful and respectful to everyone and portray a positive image locally, nationally and internationally.”

Mr Verwey added that the proposed position of the monument was in a transition area used in the Cobh Jailbreak triathlon.

Municipal Executive Clerk, Padraig Lynch said in relation to Mr Verwey’s first objection it was not a planning matter so is outside the scope of Council.

He said the proposed sculpture would not interfere with the annual Jailbreak event, and noted that Council had not received a submission from the organisers of the Triathlon.

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