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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# like a horse
The Púca statue will NOT be erected in Ennistymon - but other Clare towns might get it instead
The council u-turn follows an online survey of local opinion.

CLARE COUNTY COUNCIL will not proceed with the installation of the €30,000 Púca of Ennistymon artwork in the north Clare town.

Instead, the controversial sculpture is to be offered to other north Clare towns, villages and community operated tourism sites through an expressions of interest process to be announced shortly.

The council u-turn follows a council commissioned online survey of local opinion which found that from the 720 survey responses, 43.6% of respondents said they ‘really disliked’ the artwork compared to 34.3% who ‘really liked’ it.

In May of last year, the project was paused after a local outcry including parish priest, Fr Willie Cummins denouncing the bronze two metre high Púca from the altar at Sunday mass. 

Ennistymon based Senator Martin Conway (FG) said today that he welcomed the decision to relocate the Púca which is inspired by Irish folklore and the locality’s equine heritage. 

He said: “It is the right decision. The Púca wasn’t acceptable to Ennistymon and to the residents of Ennistymon. When you are dealing with spirits that have a mythical connotation, you have to be very careful with people’s feelings and people do take umbrage.” 

If something is divisive in a community, then it shouldn’t happen. We need to be careful about the statutes that we erect. 

The creator of the Púca, Aidan Harte said that a Council official had phoned him earlier in the day to confirm that the Puca will not be proceeding in Ennistymon.

Harte said that the Council official told him that the Puca in Ennistymon was untenable due to the threats of vandalism against it. 

Harte said that he was “disappointed” with the Council decision and that the online survey was a “nuts” way to decide the Puca’s fate in Ennistymon.

He said: “Once I heard about the poll, I thought ‘that’s it, it is doomed’. This was a gift to the opponents of the sculpture and fair play to them they have won the day. 

He said: “We live to fight another day and there are no hard feelings from me against the people who were set against it and I do hope they represent the feelings of the town otherwise it is a sad day.” 

Harte – who was a public commission to create the Puca for Ennistymon – said: “I am pretty confident that a good number of people who were against it would over time come to appreciate it if it was erected.” 

Mr Harte said that he will not proceed with any further work on the Púca until a fresh agreement is in place with the Council stating which alternative town or village it will be located in. 

He said: “It would be madness to proceed with the casting before knowing where it is going to go. If the Council has blinked once, why wouldn’t they blink again?” 

Harte said that he was not confident that the Púca will find an alternative location in Clare after what has happened in Ennistymon. 

Harte said that if another Clare community doesn’t want the Puca, he has solid offers for it from private individuals and also some institutions. 

“I want it to go somewhere where it is loved. I love the sculpture. I have sweated blood and tears to get it this far,” he said. 

Harte dismissed going down the legal route to have the Púca erected in Ennistymon. He said: “Why would I do that? That would be petty and small minded. I don’t want to cause more controversy in Ennistymon.” 

Ennistymon will not lose out on a new piece of artwork with a Council statement confirming that a new art piece for the Ennistymon project will be developed through a full public consultation process.

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