Sir Terry Wogan: A memorial is being planned in his native Limerick
IMMINENT plans to erect a memorial in honour of one Limerick's most famous and beloved sons, Sir Terry Wogan, will proceed shortly, it has been confirmed on the first anniversary of his passing.
The Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O'Hanlon, confirmed to the Limerick Leader, that plans to erect a statue in honour of the BBC broadcasting legend – who died this day last year aged 77 – will be drawn up in the coming weeks, following agreement with his family in the UK.
Mayor O'Hanlon said it was his intention to erect a sculpture, estimated to cost in the region of €50,000, on lower Thomas Street, linking with O'Connell Street.
The Fianna Fail leader of the council said he felt this would “add to the area” due to the planned €9m pedestrianisation of the city's main thoroughfare by 2019.
He outlined that his idea is to have a statue of Wogan sitting casually on a bench, with a microphone in hand, as if about to interview someone, which he feels would invite his countless number of fans to sit alongside the bronze sculpture and pose for photographs.
"Sir Terry was loved and adored throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and never forgot where he came from,” said the Mayor.
“He was a wonderful ambassador for Ireland and Limerick. He was proud to be from Limerick, and to be an Irishman in Britain at a time when it was hard, during the IRA bombings.
"I have spoken to his family about the plans and will be in consultation with them again over the coming weeks," he said, adding that the piece could prove to be a tourist draw.
"If we could get even one per cent of his six million listeners to Limerick that would be fantastic. For his army of followers, it would be a pilgrimage they would have to make. We honoured him in life, we should likewise do it in his passing,” said Mayor O’Hanlon.
He has invited the public to submit ideas and make proposals regarding the memorial in the next few weeks to email@example.com.
He said these will help inform prospective artists' impressions of the sculpture, which have yet to be drawn up.
Labour councillor Joe Leddin, who was mayor when Wogan received the Freedom of Limerick in 2007, endorsed the idea, but said he believed the proposals should go forward for full public consultation, to avoid mistakes made in the past regarding other memorials in Limerick.
Situated on Bedford Row, opposite the proposed site for Sir Terry's memorial, is the statue of the twice Oscar-nominated actor Richard Harris, which drew severe criticism at the time of its unveiling.
That piece, which cost €150,000, depicts him in his role as King Arthur from Camelot.
The renowned Limerick artist John Shinnors was among those who criticised the 'pint-sized' sculpture of the giant of the silver screen, describing it as "touristy kitsch; an opportunity lost, an opportunity that was thrown away".
"We have to honour Terry Wogan," said Cllr Leddin. “He was a broadcasting legend, the likes of whom I don't think we'll ever see again.
"I think everyone would be in agreement with honouring him, but it's a question of what we do, and it would have to be done in consultation with his family," said Cllr Leddin.
He added that the monument of the Limerick dockers on Howley's Quay should serve as a more fitting example of what can be achieved in an honorable and realistic portrayal of those who have made a major contribution to Limerick life.
Limerick based solicitor and RTE DJ Will Leahy was among those to pay tribute to Sir Terry on the anniversary of his passing.
He wrote online yesterday: "He probably won't get any mentions in the same way Bowie's first anniversary did, but tomorrow is the first anniversary of the passing of Terry Wogan. Proud Limerickman and one of the true greats in broadcasting."