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Terry Wogan Gareth Chaney

Call for statue of Terry Wogan to be melted and recast as it's revealed it cost almost €60,000

It cost €58,500 to design, build and erect on Limerick’s riverside – almost ten times more than a statue of Anthony Foley cost.

A MUCH-MALIGNED statue of the late Sir Terry Wogan cost almost €60,000 to erect, new figures reveal.

Data released following a Freedom of Information request show it cost €58,500 to design, build and erect the bronze sculpture on Limerick’s riverside.

However, a limestone memorial of the Munster great Anthony Foley cost less than a tenth of the cost of the Wogan statue, with Limerick City and County Council shelling out just €5,675.

The figures have led to fresh calls for the Wogan sculpture to be ditched, with local Independent councillor John Gilligan saying it must be “melted and recast,” describing it in its current form as “a waste of space” and a “continuing embarrassment” to the city.

Sinn Fein member Séighin Ó Ceallaigh questioned why the statue of the broadcaster, who died aged 77 in January 2016, resulted in a bill of more than 10 times the one received for the tribute to Foley, who passed away in October the same year.

Councillor Kieran O’Hanlon, who unveiled both statues during the latter stages of his term as mayor, said decisions on the cost of both sculptures were handled by local authority management.

Upon its unveiling last year, the statue of Limerick-born Wogan – famous for his witty commentary at Eurovision Song Contests through the years – was criticised.

There were suggestions the statue bore a closer resemblance to other people, such as actor Will Ferrell, singers Nick Cave and Glen Campbell and “footballer Ronaldo’s dad”.

The statue was designed by Mayo artist Rory Breslin and initial estimates of costs for the sculpture of the BBC legend – made a Freeman of Limerick back in 2007 – rang in at around €50,000.

Councillor Gilligan said not recasting the Wogan statue would represent a “cowardly move” on the part of council bosses.”

It’s a waste of space. It’s something which continues to be an embarrassment. I think we need to recognise that when we get things wrong, we simply cannot ignore them and hope they will forget about them.

“It’s not what we are looking for. There is no point saying ‘it will do’. We are not building a city based on this. It should reflect the person who we have cast to honour,” Councillor Gilligan said.

He did, however, praise the Foley memorial for both its design and location.

Ó Ceallaigh said members of the authority should have more say over the cost and design of statues.

“I’d have no problem with memorials going up. But councillors should be involved in making these decisions. The first I heard about the Terry Wogan statue going up was when they unveiled it,” he said.

Councillor O’Hanlon defended the sculpture, and said having attended a memorial service in London in memory of the broadcaster, it was important for him to unveil it.

“I had met a lot of Terry’s ‘Togs’, his supporters. They had all booked board and travel and had other plans made.

“Certainly I did want to unveil it during my mayoralty. It meant a lot to me to be able to do this,” the Fianna Fáil man said.

Wogan’s statue isn’t the only one in Limerick to be controversial – the bronze statue of film legend Richard Harris, by artist James Connolly, was also criticised.

Read: A statue of the late Terry Wogan was unveiled in Limerick today>

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