THE AUNT of murdered Limerickman Shane Geoghegan has appealed for businesses in the city to display some of the clay figurines in memory of her nephew, as the tribute has been forced to move from Limerick City Council.
Aunt Margaret Walsh was the driving force behind the ‘Pitch for Shane’ installation, which saw over 20,000 figurines moulded by people throughout the world to show solidarity with the family, following the murder of 28 year-old Shane Geoghegan on November 9, 2008.
Tourists visiting Limerick who had lost loved ones during the 9/11 attacks were among those to show solidarity with the campaign, which is intended as a tribute to all innocent victims of violence.
She said the art installation was designed “to remember Shane in a positive way”, but the handmade designs had to be removed from Istabraq Hall in Limerick City Council last week as the venue is required for other civic functions.
“We wanted to keep his memory alive for the type of person he was. He was full of fun and was very inclusive. Some people took it very much on board and came back with magnificent sculptures,” she said.
Originally they planned to have 10,000 small sculptures in his memory, but this grew to 20,000 due to public support of the project.
She said the reaction to it had been “extraordinary”.
“Everyone that comes in, their first expression is wow’,” she said. “They look at it and stagger back and see what a wonderful tribute to the city it is, as well as Shane.”
As Shane’s birthday approaches next month, Ms Walsh is now appealing for local businesses in Limerick city to take as many figurines as they can and put them on display in a prominent location.
Speaking with Joe Duffy on RTE Radio One, she said the art display was a form of a “silent protest against violence”.
Asked by the broadcaster if the family are aware of the national revulsion at the murder of her nephew, she said: “We said what we had to say at the trial.”
Barry Doyle, 26, a father of three from Portland Row in Dublin was convicted of his murder, following a second trial. The original jury in last year’s trial failed to reach a verdict.
In the Central Criminal Court, Tom O’Connell, SC, prosecuting, said the Geoghegan family did not wish to make a victim impact statement as they felt “the crime speaks for itself.” The radio broadcaster also expressed his condolences to the family on this “tragedy”.
The unveiling of the Pitch for Shane project last year marked the third anniversary of his death.
“The project really captured the public imagination and so many people from different walks of life connected with it. We can hardly believe the support we received over the past year and thank all those who have contributed in any way especially the public in helping to make this a success.” The public can still light a candle in his memory online at www.limerickleader.ie