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THE PÚCA will be coming to North Clare but not to Ennistymon as initially planned.

Clare County Council have confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the statue will be offered to other North Clare towns, villages and community operated tourism sites through an Expressions of Interest process to be announced shortly.

Local objections prompted Clare County Council to pause plans for the Púca in May. The €30,000 artwork caused an international stir at the time with a strong reaction on either side of the debate to the plans which divided Ennistymon.

Fr Willie Cummins denounced the sculpture from the altar as “sinister”, Senator Martin Conway (FG) described it as “offensive” while Cllr Shane Talty (FF) said, “the vast majority of comments on it have been negative and that can’t be ignored”. The County Council were presented a petition containing 263 signatures from locals against the two-metre tall statue.

Among the high-profile for the sculpture were actor Chris O’Dowd, comedian Dara Ó Briain and MEP Mick Wallace (IND). Ger O’Donohoe, owner of This Is It café in Ennistymon also was in favour of the Púca making home in the North Clare town. Designed by Kilkenny sculptor, Aidan Harte, fans of the Púca detailed how the publicity generated in May would help to entice more tourists to Ennistymon.

Members of the Council’s Arts Office had selected the Púca as the winning entry of nineteen submissions where the adjudication panel comprised of a community representative, an independent artist and a project manager for a €500,000 scheme aimed at revitalising Ennistymon. The scheme is aimed at increasing the amount of time visitors spend in the town, as well as improving and developing signage, pedestrian access and significant additional car parking spaces. The artwork was inspired by the town’s equine heritage and Irish folklore.

Clare’s history includes links to the Púca. Rineen National School was reported to be haunded by a Púca while Brian Boru is said to have been the only man to ever successfully ride and tame a Púca.

Officials in Clare County Council met with elected members on Tuesday where it was confirmed that it would not be proceeding with plans to install the artwork in Ennistymon. The Local Authority has proposed to relocate the art piece within the North Clare Electoral Area and that expressions of interest will shortly be invited from community groups with a link to tourism. Meanwhile, it has also been proposed that a new art piece for the Ennistymon project will be developed through a full public consultation process.

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