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Connolly group launches £50,000 appeal

posted 5 Jun 2009, 04:37 by David Rintoul   [ updated 5 Jun 2009, 04:51 ]

A controversial bid has been launched to commemorate the Edinburgh-born Irish revolutionary James Connolly with a statue in the city centre.

Members of the Connolly Foundation have used today – the 141st anniversary of Connolly's birth – to launch a £50,000 appeal to build a lasting memorial to one of the leading figures in the struggle against British rule in Ireland.

Tom White, an American sculptor, has agreed to create a life size statue of James Connolly after completing one in Chicago last year.

Sites under consideration include the Meadows, where Connolly gave some of his most famous speeches, the West Port, where he lived, and the Cowgate, his birthplace and home to the majority of Edinburgh's Irish immigrant community until the mid-20th century.

Such a move, however, is likely to prove highly controversial as while he is regarded as a hero in Ireland, he remains a divisive figure in the country of his birth for leading the rebellion at a time when thousands were dying during the First World War. The marches held in his memory in Edinburgh have often become flashpoints for sectarian violence.

Any bid for a statue would require both planning permission and council approval if it was erected on a city street or pavement. It is hoped the £50,000 can be raised from both public and private donations.

Continued...

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