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19 Jan 2022

Limerick councillor criticised over call to cut royal insignia from post boxes

Limerick councillor criticised over call to cut royal insignia from post boxes

Sinn Fein’s John Costelloe called to 'angle grind' the royal insignia off Ireland’s postboxes

LIMERICK councillors have expressed concerns after Sinn Fein’s John Costelloe called to “angle grind” the royal insignia off Ireland’s postboxes.

During a debate at the metropolitan district on the condition of some mailboxes, the northside councillor tried to “broaden the debate” and said: “Some of the insignia need to be removed.”

“We are now longer under British rule. Why do we have the British insignia along our main thoroughfare? We can grind the insignia off. Let’s put the An Post insignia on it, not the royal coat of arms. We are an independent country,” he said.

Councillor Costelloe suggested “a soft grinder” could be used.

“We do not have to be reminded of Britain’s colonial past. We have had enough of it. The removal of this insignia is a step forward. We all understand our history, but we don’t have to look at it every day of the week,” he added.

But there was huge criticism of his comments, with Labour councillor Conor Sheehan saying he is “alarmed and shocked” and called for a “withdrawal” of the comment.

“Essentially what he’s proposing is taking a grinder to a protected structure. It would be like myself or yourself going to King John’s Castle with a sledgehammer and knocking off part of it,” he added.

Councillor Olivia O’Sullivan, Fine Gael, said: “We are entitled to personal opinions, but we are public representatives here. I think when we bring opinions to this floor, it’s not like we are sitting around with our friends having a conversation. We need to exercise a level of caution and responsibility expressing personal opinion in public.”

Her party colleague, Cllr Daniel McSweeney said: “We cannot erase our past, but I do believe there are some parties in this chamber who have a very dark past and do not want this to be remembered. Unfortunately, an angle grinder will not remove this history.”

But Cllr Costelloe doubled down, and pledged to bring a debate around a Border Poll for a United Ireland to a future meeting, saying: “People down here have buried their head in the sand for 80 years while those in the six counties have suffered.”

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