Model of Maurice Davin statue to go on display in Carrick

Aileen Hahesy

Aileen Hahesy

A model of the proposed statue of GAA founder Maurice Davin is to be put on public display at Davin GAA Club in Carrick-on-Suir next Tuesday afternoon after several local councillors accused the organising committee of not consulting the people of the town about the project that will also include a festival.

Tipperary County Board Chairman Sean Nugent and South Tipperary GAA Board Chairman Joe Brennan have been invited to attend and it’s hoped to have members of the Tipperary senior hurling and football panels present.

Maurice Davin Memorial Committee Chairman Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald said members of the public and Town Council are welcome to view the model of the statue at the Davin clubhouse from 2.30pm onwards.

Sculptor Barry Wrafter, who has been commissioned to create the sculpture, and Jimmy Flynn of Jimmy Flynn & Associates Architectural Services will also be attending the public consultation event.

And visitors will also have an opportunity to discuss the statue and festival with members of the Maurice Davin Memorial Fund Committee, who will have a meeting at the clubhouse at 3.30pm.

Planning permission will have to be sought to erect the nine foot tall Kilkenny limestone sculpture of Maurice Davin along the N24 outside Davin Park that has been donated by the Maurice Davin Field Committee.

The Memorial Committee, which includes representatives of Carrick’s three GAA clubs and relatives of Maurice Davin, has already had a pre-planning meeting with Town Council officials in relation to the project.

The Memorial Committee’s plans to honour Maurice Davin, who was the GAA’s first president and a renowned athlete, became embroiled in political controversy last week when several members of the Town Council complained that they had not been consulted about the plans for the statue and the festival.

They also took exception to the fact that the Memorial Committee is being chaired by a Labour party figure, county councillor Bobby Fitzgerald, and includes another prominent Labour figure Senator Denis Landy.

After a heated debate, councillors decided to invite a representative of the Memorial Committee to address the Town Council at a workshop on May 28.

Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald said he received the invitation on Monday and reiterated that the Committee will not attend the Council workshop as it was a non-political organisation but expressed the hope that Town Council members will come and view the plans for the statue next Tuesday.

He has penned a strongly worded response to the comments made about the Memorial Committee at Carrick-on-Suir Town Council last week in a letter to the editor of The Nationalist, which is published next to this report.

In the letter, Cllr Fitzgerald says he and his family were “horrified, shocked and upset” by the remarks made at the Town Council meeting and criticised them as a “pathetic attempt to politicise and detract from the noble efforts” of the Memorial Committee to honour a local figure who has had such an impact nationally.

He points out that the Memorial Committee is made up of figures from across the community and advises some councillors to “get off their high horse and recognise and embrace the project”.

Cllr Fitzgerald also stresses in the letter he is participing in the project purely in a personal capacity and would be involved even if he wasn’t a councillor.

Meanwhile, in relation to the Maurice Davin statue, Cllr Fitzgerald said if planning approval is secured, it will take sculptor Barry Wrafter nine months to complete the statue. President Michael D Higgins has been invited to unveil the monument during the sporting and cultural festival in honour of Maurice Davin on the May Bank Holiday Weekend next year.

Cllr Fitzgerald said the weekend of festivities will include an inter-county hurling match, juvenile matches and handball in Davin Park.

There will also be an exhibition of photographs, memorabilia, an award ceremony honouring players of the past, a celebration of the GAA, together with the three Carrick on Suir GAA Clubs historical achievements.

The South Tipperary Development Company has sanctioned a E44,000 grant to assist with funding the statue and festival, which it’s estimated will cost about E70,000 overall.

A Maurice Davin Memorial Fund has also been set up to raise funds for the project through voluntary donations.

Cllr Fitzgerald said donations, no matter how small” can be made through any committee member of directly to the Memorial Fund bank account Bank of Ireland, Sort Code 905969, Account No. 94389749, IBAN code: IE14BOFI90596994389749.