We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Finn Sissling (3) from Clare and Nana Fran Kilkenny from Dublin at the opening of the IFA live crib featuring a donkey, goat and two sheep in 2019.
christmas tradition

Minister seeks new location for live Christmas crib after decision to remove it from Mansion House

There cannot be a ‘Scrooge-like agenda’ said Minister Patrick O’Donovan.

GOVERNMENT MINISTER PATRICK O’Donovan is working to find a new location for Dublin’s live animal Christmas crib after the live crib was cancelled this year. 

The Minister of Office of Public Works along with a number of Fine Gael councillor are working on reversing what has been described as a “Grinch-like decision” to cancel the live animal Nativity crib in the capital this Christmas.

O’Donovan said he will be working with the IFA on a new location for the crib which attracts thousands of children and their families every Christmas in Dublin.

His intervention comes after Dublin Lord Mayor and Green Party Councillor Caroline Conroy proposed to the city councils protocol committee that the live crib be replaced.

“Children suffered enough over the last two years having to live with Covid and wondering would Santa and Rudolph manage to get to their homes with lockdowns and restrictions. Let them enjoy this Christmas,” the minister said.

“Let’s have a Nativity crib in the capital city for all children to visit. There cannot be a scrooge like agenda from any council for children at Christmas time.

“I’ll be working with my Fine Gael colleagues and all councillors on Dublin City Council to save the crib,” said O’Donovan.

“They’re banning donkeys and sheep from outside the Mansion House but there simply has to be room elsewhere for them this Christmas,” he added. 

1407 Little Angels Bonnie Devereux Lynch aged 4 from St. Josephs Nursery, Dublin 8 outside the crib in 2019. Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

Fine Gael will be putting forward an emergency motion for next month’s council meeting that the crib be reinstated.

The live crib has been outside the Mansion House on Dawson Street since 1995.

“Not even the Grinch would ban this loved Christmas tradition. We have to overturn this and look for a new location – perhaps St Stephen’s Green. We know times are tough so we want to ensure children and their families have a Christmas crib to visit in Dublin,” Fine Gael Councillor James Geoghegan said.

He claimed the Lord Mayor of Dublin had decided after 27 years to cancel the live animal crib outside Dublin’s Mansion House with no public debate on this issue. 

The councillor called on the Lord Mayor to allow preparations for the live crib to continue until all elected members of Dublin City Council have had their say.

He suggested that St Stephen’s Green might be an alternative location.

Other politicians have also voiced their criticism at the decision, with Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe also stating that he was disappointed at the move. 

Aontú leader Peadar Toíbín also called the decision “nonsense” on Twitter today, saying “so many city children never get to see farmyard animals”.

A number of animal rights campaigners have applauded the decision, calling it “sensible”.

Conroy told RTÉ’s News at One defended her decision, stating that she wanted to have something more “fun” and “inclusive” outside the Mansion House this year. 

While a number of councillors have called for a u-turn, the Lord Mayor said she had sign off on the decision. 

Conroy said that she wanted to “try something different” and create a “new experience”.

She said the decision stands, and work is underway to have choirs outside, as well as a Christmas sleigh where children can get photos and post their Santa letters through a post box. 

During Covid, children could only look at animals through a glass screen, she said, stating that she wants to create a “winter wonderland” outside the Mansion House instead of the live crib.  

She said the new plans would have “inclusivity for all”. 

 IFA President Tim Cullinane, whose organisation helped run the Christmas crib each year by supplying the animals, alongside the DSPCA, said he was “very disappointed” at the decision. 

When he got the message that the live crib was off yesterday, he said he was “amazed and shocked”. 

He told the same radio programme that for many years the animals in the crib have brought joy to children, stating that the engagement with the children of Dublin is very important as not many would be used to seeing farm animals.

Cullinane said he has offered to meet Lord Mayor to discuss the decision, stating that he would like the live crib to continue.  

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel