No liberty to remove holy statue


THE REMOVAL of a large Christian statue from over the main entrance to the Killarney Community Hospital was done without planning permission, planning authorities have ruled.

The statue was removed and, after a storm of criticism, placed alongside the hospital at ground level.

The removal in March 2010, without community consultation, caused uproar. The Bishop of Kerry publicly questioned health and safety reasons put forward by the hospital’s health managers.

At one stage there was a threat of a march on the hospital. The Killarney Soroptimists women’s group called on the hospital to replace the statue.

Independent Councillor Donal Grady asked An Bord Pleanála to rule on whether permission was needed, and last June the board said removal did need permission. The Health Service Executive was then forced to apply for permission.

The refusal yesterday said relocation “would seriously detract from the overall character, historic context and visual amenities of the hospital building”.

The executive is likely to study the decision before moving the statue again.