Hospital removes Christ statue

Sat, Mar 6, 2010, 00:00

A ROW is emerging following the HSE’s decision to remove a religious statue from a Co Kerry hospital.

The HSE said yesterday it took down the large red and white statue of Christ at Killarney Community Hospital “for health and safety reasons”, claiming it posed a threat due to deterioration from weathering.

However, priests and local politicians are rejecting the explanations put forward by the HSE saying the real reasons lie elsewhere, with one politician insisting it was political correctness gone mad.

A HSE spokesman yesterday did concede that a bid to accommodate other beliefs amid a changing culture in Killarney had also underlined the removal of some of the many religious artefacts in the hospital.

Fr Kevin McNamara, a curate in Killarney, said he felt “genuine sadness” after staff yesterday removed the statue from over the hospital door.

“This statue has been part of the skyline of Killarney. People I visited today, a first Friday, are extremely upset. We are demanding that this statue be put back.

“Where is the building survey that says this statue was a health and safety risk? Other large statues have been removed also. This is a disgrace.”

In a statement yesterday, the HSE said that extensive renovations were being carried out, both internally and externally.

“The statue which is currently placed externally to the front façade of the building is being removed today as it is posing a health and safety risk due to deterioration from weathering.

“It is the intention of the HSE to find a more suitable location on the site of the community hospital for the statue to ensure that the current health and safety risk will no longer be of concern,” continued the statement.