THE grandson of actor Maureen O’Hara has spoken of his family’s disappointment that Cork County Council never contacted them about the life-size statue made to commemorate their famous grandmother.
The bronze statue of the Hollywood star was recently erected in the village of Glengarriff, without the knowledge of locals or Maureen’s family. However, it was removed just 48 hours later and the statue’s whereabouts are unknown now.
Conor Beau Fitzsimons, who was involved in the first attempt to create a statue for the Hollywood icon, was highly critical this week of the Council’s handling of the debacle. “Nobody contacted us, even to show us or ask our opinion if there was a resemblance to [Maureen]. It’s so disrespectful after what Maureen did for West Cork. They couldn’t pull themselves together and get it right,’ he said The southern star.
“They definitely dropped the ball and the worst part was no one even called to say the statue was going up. We only found out when the statue was taken down.
Conor believes the family now owe the Council an apology and have challenged artists across Ireland to step up and come up with another statue of his iconic grandmother.
“We want a statue of her to stay in Glengarriff for years to come and I’m really disappointed with how it all turned out.” This is the third attempt to create a statue in honor of the Dublin-born actress, who moved to Glengarriff in 2005.
After he died in Idaho in 2015 at the age of 95, locals had planned for a life-size statue to be unveiled on his 100th birthday in August 2020.
Some commentators said the latest statue erected last Wednesday didn’t look much like him.
One person said a “nice bench” with a plaque commemorating the actress would be more appropriate and much cheaper. Another commenter had assumed it was a famine memorial in the village, while someone else said it would have been better to open an animal sanctuary in memory of the ‘actor.
Cork County Council has remained silent on the saga, despite repeated attempts to seek clarification as to why this third statue no longer resembles the actress and why it was removed just two days after it was unveiled.
It is unclear whether it was Cork County Council or Innishannon sculptor Don Cronin who ordered the statue removed last Friday, as the council remained tight-lipped in response to requests for comment.
The initial statue was commissioned by Cork County Council but was removed by the Glengarriff Tourist and Development Association (GTDA) as they felt she did not look much like Maureen.
The budget for this project was €60,000, while €45,000 of this money came from the Towns and Villages Renewal Program in 2017, and Cork County Council provided funding of €15,000.
The sculpture was deemed “unacceptable” by the Council and considered not “suitable for installation” and GTDA then commissioned a new artist and a new statue.
However, during the protracted process, GTDA dropped the project and has not been involved since.
The GTDA returned €26,250, plus the unused bronze statue.
A Council spokesperson previously told the Southern Star that the first attempt to secure a life-size statue involved a contract between GTDA and an artist, but the latest contract was between the Council and sculptor Don Cronin, to an amount of €33,000.
At press time no comments were available from Cork County Council or sculptor Don Cronin.