The cross that was cut down from the top of Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry will be reinstated before Christmas, after a unanimous vote to restore the cross was taken by more than 20 people on the MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum.
The forum includes local landowners, business owners and authorities as well as the Department of Environment and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Many offers of support have been received to reinstate the cross, said Patricia Deane, rural recreation officer at the South Kerry Development Partnership. Engineering companies have got in touch offering to put the cross back up at no charge, she added.
The owners of the private land on which the cross was sited have been “hugely supportive” of reinstating the cross too.
The organisation is now looking at safety concerns and determining the most experienced and qualified group to carry out the project.
Deane said nothing has been finalised yet on whether the cross will be welded back or replaced with a new structure.
News broke on November 22nd that the 5m-tall box-iron cross at the top of Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, had been cut down, apparently with an angle grinder. The cross, erected in May 1977 by the local community, was found by mountain climbers lying on its side a few feet from its base.
It is still not known who cut the cross down. Gardaí investigations are continuing, with no arrests made yet.
Peter Hinchliffe, a member of Atheist Ireland who lives in Co Kerry, said that he believed there is a discussion to be had as to whether the cross should be put up again.
"We'd like to see something that's reflective of the whole community if the cross is to be replaced," Hinchliffe said on Tuesday, when he appeared on the radio show Kerry Today with Jerry O'Sullivan.
“What’s been taken down, if it’s a symbol that was reflective of all our values in the past, let’s replace it with something which is reflective of all our values in this day and age,” he said. “I don’t think a symbol that represents only one part of the community is going to do that.”