Johnny Depp ‘owes’ Limerick a visit to see it is no longer ‘Stab City’ – mayor

Sean Lynch call comes after actor’s reference to city’s old nickname in foreword to book

 Johnny Depp: the US actor has been urged to visit Limerick to see how the city has progressed since his brief visit there in 1991. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Johnny Depp: the US actor has been urged to visit Limerick to see how the city has progressed since his brief visit there in 1991. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

 

The Mayor of Limerick has said actor Johnny Depp “owes” the city a visit so he could see how it has moved on from its “Stab City” past.

Metropolitan mayor Sean Lynch’s remarks follow a reference made by the Hollywood actor to the city’s old nickname in the foreword to a book. The use of the term by Depp has received much negative reaction locally.

“Our brief pit stop proved to be one of the most chaotic nights that I ever remember. Suffice to say we conquered Stab City,” Depp wrote in a book about Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon.

Depp provided the foreword to the book, In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story, by Richard O’Rawe, which is due out later this month.

He described Conlon, who was wrongly jailed for 15 years for IRA bombings and died in 2014, as his “long-lost brother”.

Mr Lynch, a former high-ranking detective in Limerick at the height of the city’s gangland feud, said the city’s past cannot be whitewashed but urged people to look to the future.

Moved on

“As someone who worked for An Garda Síochána when unfortunately commentators were using that phrase, it did have a reputation, but that is now past tense, and we have moved on.”

He said he would love to give a “cead mile failte” to the Pirates of the Caribbean star. “We’ve come a long way since he visited the city [in 1991]. There’s no point saying there wasn’t a problem in Limerick – there was, and it took a lot of people to bring it to where it is today.

“We won’t knock him for his comment, but if he’s ever around the country, he should come to Limerick. He owes us that much.”

“We should be mindful of our past. Limerick is now a great place, and while we can’t keep taking that term to heart, we also have to remember that a lot of victims were on the receiving end of that terminology, and that people did die,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Fianna Fáil deputy Willie O’Dea said the term is “an irritating moniker, dug up from the grave” and is tired of “the same throwaway remark” being bandied about.

Mr O’Dea said while there is a temptation to ignore negative remarks about Limerick, “it really irritates me and I find it hard to let it slide”.