Thieves who hacked down the now famous Manannán Mac Lir statue two months ago caused so much damage to the six-foot tall sculpture the Game of Thrones sculptor who created it recommends it should be replaced.
However, one Limavady councillor believes the damaged statue represents a “golden opportunity” and should become a tourist attraction itself.
The fibre glass sculpture by John Darren Sutton from Dungannon disappeared from Binevenagh Mountain outside Limavady in January. Those who stole the statue left a wooden cross in its place with the words ‘YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME’. The statue was found 300 metres from its original location one month later by the Bannside ramblers.
Commissioned by Limavady Borough Council at a cost of approximately £10,000, the statue suffered extensive damage, including to the back of its head.
Limavady councillors, who meet for the last time as a Council tonight before the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council comes into being, will be asked to decide whether it should be replaced.
Development Services director, Valerie Richmond, states in her monthly report: “Further to members’ discussions at the February meeting of Council, and the subsequent recovery of the sculpture, contact has been made with the sculptor, regarding repair or replacement of the sculpture.
“The sculptor has advised that the level of the damage to the sculpture is quite extensive and recommends replacement. The sculptor has provided a quotation of £9,950 to replace the sculpture, to the original specification, with some strengthening modifications. The timeframe for completion is estimated at approximately 5–6 months. Officers are also investigating some tamper proof security measures that could be employed to safeguard the new sculpture.”
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan supports replacing the sculpture, and believes the damaged statue should be used as a tourist attraction by exhibiting it in the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre.
“I think the statue is so important to the Roe Valley area in terms of tourism potential, which could provide much needed revenue for the local economy. We can’t afford to not replace it, and I will support the recommendation,” said Colr. Mullan.
“I think the damaged statue itself presents a double whammy, and a golden opportunity to make it an actual tourist attraction within the town centre, which would be of great interest to schools and visitors to learn about the background to the Broighter Gold legend.”