A proposal to erect a statue of boxer Jack Doyle in his home town of Cobh has been rejected, on the basis that there are already too many statues in the area. Cork County Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, said he was turning down the request to install the five foot structure near Pearse Square because it would “clutter” the streetscape. He said he was basing his decision on reports from the County Architectural and Conservation Units who deemed the area would be cluttered with street furniture, if it went ahead.
It’s now up to the Municipal District to recommend an alternative site in which the planning process must recommence. The five foot structure of Jack in a seated position on a bench with one arm stretched out along a railing, was set to be located on the south-eastern corner of Pearse Square, close to the BMC. Council officials pointed out that there is already a monument commemorating the victims of the Titanic, a commemorative piece marking the centenary of the 1916 East Rising and a bronze statue of silver Olympic medallist, athlete Sonia O’Sullivan, in close proximity to the chosen area.
The Chief Executive said that in light of the report presented to him, it would not be appropriate for the statues to be located close to each other. Independent Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla criticised the move to reject the statue of Doyle, stating that it’s a snub to one of the town’s most famous sons. He said when the Town Enhancement Programme commences, the installation area for the Doyle statue will double thus reducing the clutter by half. The Irish language activist said it was unfair that the Jack Doyle statue would see input from both the Architect and Conservation officers when the other structures did not receive as much scrutiny. Council CEO Tim Lucey said it was important that both Departments had an involvement in the project considering the large investment in public infrastructure planned for Cobh.
Doyle, known as the Gorgeous Gale, was one time contender for the British Boxing Championship, a Hollywood actor and Tenor. Over the years there have been a number of allegations of physical violence towards women made against Doyle. Earlier this year a leading organisation combatting domestic violence criticised the plan to erect a statue to the boxer. Women’s Aid said they feared if planning was approved Doyle’s presence in the harbour town would help glorify domestic violence towards women.
The National organisation supporting women and children said the project was “misguided” and has the potential of “sending a message to abusers that they are not doing anything wrong”