Hoax plaque on bridge will now be left in place
The wily Fr Pat Noise looks set to remain a permanent fixture on O'Connell Bridge after plans to remove him were suddenly aborted by Dublin City Council on Tuesday morning.
There were red faces in the council after it emerged that councillors on the southeast committee had passed a motion to retain the unofficial plaque to the fictitious priest in December.
Cllr Dermot Lacey tabled that motion and said he couldn't believe his eyes when he read in the The Irish Timeson Tuesday the plaque was to be removed by council workers that day.
"It would have been a direct act of defiance to local government if it had been removed," he said. Mr Lacey said it appeared the relevant city council officials were not aware of the councillors' decision.
Ten minutes after he raised a query with the council, he was told that the priest had been spared once more.
The plaque commemorates the mysterious cleric who "died in suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey on August 10th, 1919".
Fr Pat Noise has embarrassed city council officials on more than one occasion. Video footage supplied by the pranksters behind the plaque suggests it was mounted on the bridge in April 2004. However, Dublin City Council was unaware of it until the Sunday Tribunedrew attention to it last May.
The council immediately said the plaque would be removed. In the meantime, public interest grew, with people leaving flowers, candles and "RIP" messages on the bridge.
A council spokeswoman said the plaque was removed two months ago, but was replaced by the hoaxers on an unknown date.
Yesterday, the spokeswoman confirmed plans to remove the plaque had been cancelled in light of the councillors' motion.
Asked if council officials were not aware of the motion when they decided to remove the plaque, she said she could not comment any further.
However, Mr Lacey said he believed the plaque's future was now secure on the country's most-famous bridge.
"This is a rare case of a prank pulled on officialdom and I think it should be left there," he said.
"It's a monument to eccentricity and it adds a bit of colour to our lives."