War memorial proposal for Limerick’s People’s Park is turned down by planners

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

An architect’s impression of the proposed war memorial, which has been rejected by Limerick City and County Council

An architect’s impression of the proposed war memorial, which has been rejected by Limerick City and County Council

CONTROVERSIAL plans to erect a war memorial on the edge of the People’s Park have been rejected by Limerick City and County Council.

As exclusively revealed by the Limerick Leader, planning permission was being sought from the local authority in the name of the seventh Earl of Limerick Edmund Pery for a structure to honour fallen civilian and military personnel from the city and county in World War One.

But p​lanners have rejected the proposal, saying they are “not satisfied” the applicant has sufficient estate or interest in the relevant land to “enable him to carry out the proposed development”.

Also, they expressed concern that granting this development would set a precedent for similar types of plans, which would impact “the established amenity of this section of the park”.​

The move has been welcomed by local northside Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville, who said he “didn’t think it was right to take the whole corner of a park” for a structure like this.

The family of Earl Edmund Pery donated the lands of the People’s Park for civic use for Limerick, and this is why it has his name on the application.

However, the project is being spearheaded by the Limerick Civic Trust, which may make moves to appeal the council’s refusal to An Bord Pleanala.

At the heart of the memorial, the plans show, would be a four-metre high stone-central cross.

As well as this, there would be eight stone tablets, two metres high, inscribed with the names of all the victims of the great war from Limerick.

There would have been three stone benches 3.7m long, and 0.45m high, and associated gravel paths.

In supporting documents provided to council planners by EML architects, it was pointed out a number of locations were considered for this memorial, including the city gallery and around the council’s headquarters at Arthur’s Quay.

The proposal drew opposition from a number of parties as well as Independent councillor John Gilligan who insisted: “The People’s Park should remain an oasis of peace with just the song of the birds and the laughter of children to disturb the peace, a far cry from the hell of cannon and rifle fire where so many were sent to be slaughtered. That is a more fitting tribute than what’s being proposed.”

Cllr Prendiville, who assisted a fellow objector, pointed out that had the development been given the green light, it would have meant the colourful horse sculptures would have been removed, or at least relocated elsewhere in the park.

“I just felt it is a massive grey series of slabs and a giant cross which would take the whole corner of the People’s Park. It would have meant getting rid of the horse sculptures which are very lively, very colourful, and an attraction for young kids. We have limited public park space and that should be celebrated and made as vibrant and playful and as fun as possible,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Cllr Prendiville said he supports the idea of war memorials in the city.

“But whether it is best taking up the whole corner of a park is another thing,” he added.