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Scale model of Che Guevara monument being built

A scale model of the proposed glass monument, which contains an image of the revolutionary known as ‘El Che’, is currently being constructed, Galway Cllr Billy Cameron has said.

A Che Guevara flag
A Che Guevara flag
Image: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/Press Association Images

A SCALE MODEL of the controversial Che Guevara monument proposed for Galway is being constructed and will be presented to the city council soon.

Cllr Billy Cameron, who proposed the idea to the council of having a monument to the Argentina-born, Cuban revolutionary’s Irish roots, said that the model is being manufactured in England. He added it is being funded by the Argentinian and Cuban embassy, as will the monument.

He said it will be presented to the public art committee of Galway City Council and then it would go to councillors themselves.

When the model is being presented to council I would be hopeful that we would get a presentation from the artist and archictects. The general feeling is we won’t be dictated to. There will be a discussion in the chamber.

He noted that people have concerns about the proposed site and various sites have been looked at. He said that people are against the use of the promenade in Salthill, but there are other areas that may be considered.

When asked about the controversy surrounding the choice of Guevara to commemorate, Cllr Cameron said there would be controversy no matter what historical figure you choose to commemorate, but particularly if they are from the political field.

He said that Guevara is recognised throughout the world as a symbol of the 20th century and is a “marketing brand” – as well as being involved in guerilla warefare.

He said that if critics “look at the general philosophy” of Guevara, “there would be rational debate” on the monument. “I believe most of the councillors are trying to inform themselves and are in the process of reading the man’s history and his ideals and his philosophy,” he said.

He said that he didn’t think the councillors will be influenced by American critics and said that a certain element of the critics in America “have rigid views and would distort the history” and have “blinkered vision”.

Cllr Cameron said that he believes the monument will give added value to the city and that “there are two other councils just waiting on the sidelines and are willing to talk to the ambassadors” with regard to taking the monument if Galway councillors decide they do not want it.

He added that if a city associates itself with the Che Guevara brand, “you have arrived”.

To associate yourself with the brand you are immediately getting the added value.

The councillors will take their time over the decision, and if is rejected, “somewhere else in Ireland will take it”, said Cllr Cameron. “It won’t be the last we hear of it. A number of South American sports personalities [said they] would get involved in fundraising for it.”

In March, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was presented with a letter from the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committe of the US House of Representatives, urging him to intervene and stop the monument being built.

Galway businessman Declan Ganley, meanwhile, also criticised the idea.

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

Read: Congresswoman urges Kenny to block Galway Guevara statue>

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