A Limavady councillor says he will “absolutely” be supporting a proposal to replace the iconic statue of Manannán Mac Lir stolen from Binevenagh.
However, SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan doesn’t believe it needs to be two to three times the size of the original fibre glass sculpture.
Colr. Mullan was speaking ahead of a Limavady Council meeting on Tuesday where a proposal to replace the statue is to be discussed.
Valerie Richmond, Council’s Development Services Officer, said in her monthly report: “In all probability, despite extensive searches it is unlikely that the sculpture will be returned. Council’s views are sought on how they would wish to progress.
“The cost of the original piece which was installed approximately two years ago was in the region of £10,000. The sculptor estimates that the cost to replace the figure would be approximately £10,000 and the cost to replace the entire sculpture (including the boat) would be £15,000.
“Should Council wish to consider a larger sculpture it would cost approximately £30,000 to create one two-three times the original size which would be made of mild steel.”
“I think it’s going to cost extra money to have a larger statue and I would fear it may be interpreted as an antagonistic gesture which may encourage further vandalism,” said Colr. Mullan. “Personally, I would be happy to see Mannanán back and replaced in his original form.”
Colr. Mullan said he was “astonished” by the worldwide reaction to the crime, adding: “For a statue with no feet news of his disappeance has travelled some distance but it would be nice to have that part of our heritage back. I hope the perpetrators can see and realise the value of Mannanán to our culture and local economy. We certainly don’t want it happeneing again.”
The woman behind the Facebook page ‘Bring back Manannan Mac Lir the Sea God’, Mari Ward Foster, said the move, if agreed, “would be fantastic because as late of yesterday there was a message from a person in the USA saying even if we could have a small statue we would buy them for our homes.
“I think it could become like the ‘The Dark Hedges’ where I’ve met American and Canadian tourists who have taken a black taxi from Belfast to see them. Could you imagine what it would do for tourism?”
The man who poured his heart and soul into the sculpture, artist Darren John Sutton from Dungannon said the worldwide outpouring of support provided him with some comfort and makes him feel proud people held his work in such esteem.