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Dublin: 24°C Sunday 14 August 2022

Che Guevara monument would ‘shame the people of Galway and Ireland’

A proposal to build a monument to the Cuban revolutionary has been harshly criticised by local businessman Declan Ganley.

The iconic image of Che Guevara by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda that was used by Jim Fitzpatrick for his portrait in 1968.
The iconic image of Che Guevara by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda that was used by Jim Fitzpatrick for his portrait in 1968.
Image: Franklin Reyes/AP/Press Association Images

THE PROPOSAL TO erect a monument to the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Galway city has been heavily criticised by the businessman Declan Ganley.

It was reported in the Sunday Times at the weekend that Galway city council are considering a proposal to erect a monument commemorating the Marxist guerrilla who helped Fidel Castro to seize power in Cuba in 1959, power he retains to this day.

The paper reported that the embassies of Cuba and Argentina, where Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was born, will help fund the art project celebrating the links Guevara has with Galway through his grandmother who was a descendant of the local Lynch family.

But Ganley, the founder of the Libertas political party which came to prominence during the Lisbon treaty referendum, has said the proposal is a  ”pet project of a small number of extremists in the Labour Party”.

The Galway-based entrepreneur describes Guevara as a “mass-murderer” and says that commemorating him in this way will damage the reputation of Galway internationally.

“I actually first heard about this proposal during a trip to the United States last week, when the issue was raised with me by members of the American business community. To say that they are shocked to see Galway considering a step like this would be an understatement,” he claimed.

He said that a Labour councillor, who he did not name, was proposing a partnership with the Cuban regime – currently headed by Castro’s brother Raul – to raise the €90,000 needed to build the monument which would be based on the iconic print of Guevara by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

However the Sunday Times reported that the Argentine and Cuban embassies plan to launch a global fundraising initiative that would pay for the monument which would then be gifted to the city of Galway.

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“This monument will damage Galway. It will make us less attractive for investment. It will drive away tourism. It will pour salt in he wounds of those this man tortured, kidnapped, maimed and killed,” Ganley said.

“It would be a monument to the insensitivity and ignorance of those who dreamt it up, and it would shame the people of Galway and Ireland.”

One of the councillors reported to be behind the campaign for the monument, Labour’s Billy Cameron, did not return‘s request for comment.

Artist launches bid for legal rights on iconic Che Guevara image

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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