A statue of Jesus Christ that sat on top of Killarney Community Hospital for over 70 years has been taken down for health and safety reasons.

However, the decision by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to do so has caused extreme stress among town locals and clergy, who believe the decision is based more on political correctness than structural instability.

"People I visited today are extremely upset. We are demanding it be put back, " Fr. Kevin McNamara, who works in the parish, told The Irish Independent. "This statue didn't fall on anybody."

Local Councilor Brendan Cronin wants to see the documentation that proves the statue was a public hazard.

Cronin argues that the HSE’s decision could have a detrimental effect on older patients at the hospital who derive comfort from the statue during vulnerable times in their lives.

"Where is the building survey that says this statue was a risk?" he asks.

The HSE released the following statement about the issue: "The statue is being removed as it is posing a health and safety risk due to deterioration from weathering.

“It is the intention of the HSE to find a more suitable location on the site of the community hospital for the statue to ensure that the current health and safety risk will no longer be of concern.”

The HSE also added that it was the decision of management at the hospital to remove the statue.