'The Púca of Ennistymon' will be forced to find a new home after Clare County Council shelved plans to erect the statue in the small town.
Clare County Council confirmed on Tuesday that it would not be proceeding with plans to install the artwork in Ennistymon, RTÉ reports, but that the art piece will be offered to other north Clare towns.
The decision comes after a public consultation period garnered 720 survey responses - 43.6% of respondents said they ‘really disliked’ the artwork while 34.3% ‘really liked’ it.
Aidan Harte, the sculptor 'The Púca of Ennistymon,' told IrishCentral on Tuesday: “It's a shame, but there's no point complaining about it I suppose.”
Harte said he received a call this morning that a county council meeting was underway where “Púca's fate was being decided.” Harte soon received a call from county council executive John O'Malley who confirmed that the Púca plans for Ennistymon would be scrapped.
Harte said: “He was quite nice about it but the bottom line is that the council had decided that Púca could not go up in Ennistymon.
“He said they would pay to cast it nevertheless and ‘throw it open’ to wider Clare to see what town wanted it.”
Harte told IrishCentral that he “surprised” O’Malley by saying he could not agree to something so open-ended after eight months of waiting and that he'd "need a contract with exact location and firm dates first."
Harte said he told O'Malley that he would wait until the end of the month before exploring any of the alternative offers he received over the last year.
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Harte also shared a music video for "The Ennistymon Puca" from the group The Burning Pitchforks, which Harte says was released before voting ended.
“It's surreal fun until the last verse,” Harte said, making note of the lyrics that say in part: "And some day or night with gelignite / and maybe a bazooka. / The lot I'd take to Mary Blake / If ever they approve ya."
(Mary Blake's Corner in Ennistymon was the site proposed for Harte's Púca sculpture.)
Harte told IrishCentral: “The video ends with the mock execution of a man in a horse mask!
"These thinly veiled threats obviously made it untenable for the council to proceed as planned."
THE ENNISTYMON PUCA
Great new song from one of Ennistymons latest underground bands . The Ennistymon Puca by The Burning Pitchforks. Wooohooo!!!Posted by Enda Haran Music on Monday, November 22, 2021
The ‘Púca of Ennistymon’ sculpture was commissioned earlier in 2021 as part of a capital project investment aimed at “increasing visitor dwell time" in the small Co Clare town. It was among 18 submissions that were reviewed by a panel of local adjudicators.
According to Clare County Council, ‘The Púca of Ennistymon’ is “inspired by Ennistymon’s equine heritage and Irish folklore.”
However, the plans were soon mired in controversy as locals objected to the statute, with some deeming it "sinister" and "nasty" in May of last year.
At the time, Harte told IrishCentral: "All I can say is that it matters what all the people of Clare think.
"A vocal minority seem to have been set against it from the start, and that culminated with the priest denouncing it from the altar as a pagan idol.
"That's silly; the Púca is no more pagan than the leprechaun.
"But since the controversy went national there's been a swing, with locals who like it now speaking up. That's welcome and I hope it goes ahead.
"The brief was to make a statue that would attract tourists to Ennistymon. The Púca hasn't even been put up yet and all Ireland is already talking about it!"
Clare County Council led a "public engagement process" which concluded in November before announcing its final decision today.