city east councillor John Gilligan has said that before Limerick begins to welcome people back for the Gathering, improvements must be made to the Wild Geese Monument.
The monument at Merchant’s Quay, in front of City Hall, was donated to the city by the government of Spokane, to commemorate the thousands of people who left Limerick following the Siege.
Now, with hopes that people will return to Shannonside from the USA, and the rest of Europe, Cllr Gilligan believes the structure needs to be upgraded.
Since it was erected, Cllr Gilligan says it has not been maintained properly.
“Instead of cherishing it, we have lost its lights, lost its fountains, and the upright lighting has gone,” he told councillors, “Before spending any cash [on the Gathering], we need to put our own house in order. If we do not to this, it would be a dreadful indictment on us - I would die of embarrassment.”
Councillor Diarmuid Scully congratulated city management on securing funding of almost €250,000 for the Gathering, a government initiative to bring the diaspora back here.
He said this national project must be a forerunner to Limerick’s Year as Irish City of Culture in 2014. He told councillors that Limerick needs to recognise its strong links with continental Europe.
As an example, he said former French president, Marshal Patrice De McMahon, settled on the city’s northside for a period of time.
He also referred to Russian army field Marshal Peter Petrovich Lacy. A native of Limerick, he participated in 1709 in the famous battle of Poltava, in which the troops of Peter the Great defeated the army of Charles the Twelfth.