Cllr Michael Fitzgerald has called on Dublin City Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to outline clearly what plans they have for the Fr. Theobald Mathew Statue which is being removed from O’Connell Street to facilitate Luas works.
It's understood it is not intended to replace if after 120 years. Cllr Fitzgerald said he has received many telephone calls regarding the statue: there are three such statues in Ireland, in Thomastown, Cork, and Dublin. Cllr Fitzgerald has lived in the house where Fr Mathew moved to, since he was aged 5. “The significance of his life cannot be overstated. Very few people have three statues of them. The Thomastown statue was unveiled in 1938. People are genuinely upset that the statue is being taken from O’Connell street.”
Fr Mathew was instrumental in starting the pioneer temperance movement in Ireland, and was involved in Catholic Emancipation. He was born in 1790 and ordained in 1813, and said his first Mass “that week.” He died in 1866.
The O’Connell street statue was carved by Thurles born woman Mary Redmond. “It’s been standing there for 120 years,” added Cllr Fitzgerald. Senior Water official Denis Holland, who reports to the Tipperary Cashel Municipal District, “wrote a book” on the topic, and many prominent Tipperay people, including Horse Trainer Aidan O’Brien, take great pride in their pioneer pin, said Cllr Fitzgerald. “It’s a pity it would be put into storage and left there. I know what it means to so many people.”