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Sculpture Trail plan to honour local nuns

A SCULPTURE to pay tribute to the work of nuns in Ennis throughout the years has been commissioned by the Ennis Sculpture Trail Initiative.
Committee member Donal Griffin confirmed that they had been looking for some time at a way to pay tribute in an appropriate way to the contributions all orders of nuns had made.
“They have had a huge role to play in Ennis in terms of education, care of people in the community, and for the love they have shown to so many over the years,” he said.
The sculpture is currently being design by artist Barry Wrafter, who is well known for his involvement in other artistic works around the county.
Mr Griffin said that the sculpture would be in the form of a nun with a number of children around her.
“It will be very tasteful and will be in marble. It will be located in the archway beside the Friary,” he added.
The Sculpture Trail hopes that the statue will be ready by September.
The initiative is supported each year by funding from Ennis Town Council, who this year funded the group to the tune of €15,000.
Mr Griffin said that the sculpture in tribute to the nuns will cost over €11,000, “We have enough in the kitty to pay for this statue, so we do not have to fundraise on this occasion,” he said.
Two more sculptors are also in the pipeline – one for Drumcliffe Cemetery as a mark of respect to paupers who were laid to rest with no proper burial or grave – and another for the Market Square.
“Artist Shane Gilmore has been engaged to design the sculpture for Drumcliffe. The sculpture for the market, will cost in the region of €40,000, is to be located in the place of Icarus, will depict a market scene. Barry Wrafter is working on that piece for the sculpture trail initiative,” Mr Griffin explained.
He confirmed that the Ennis Sculpture Trail Initiative is not involved in the concept of a piece of art work to pay respect to the victims of child abuse in industrial schools and Magdalene laundries. 
“We support all art but the idea for a sculpture for victims of abuse in industrial schools stemmed from a meeting of Ennis Town Council, not from us,” Mr Griffin said.
It has also emerged that Ennis Town Council did not engage Mr Wrafter to proceed with the idea of a sculpture for the victims of child abuse in industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries.
Mr Wrafter is currently working with three councillors, Councillor Paul O’Shea, Councillor Michael Guilfoyle and Councillor Johnny Flynn to raise funds for this piece of art.
However, the artist was under the impression, that if funds were raised for the statue, that the town council would contribute an element of funding in the future which would allow the project to be fulfilled.
But Ennis town manager, Ger Dollard, and town clerk, Eddie Power, have both confirmed that the council recommended that a commemorative plaque would be the favoured option, and not a sculpture.
“We placed an advertisement in the local media inviting submissions for a plaque or piece of art as a mark of respect to the victims of child abuse in industrial schools and the Magdalene laundries. This was not a formal invitation for submissions, as would normally be the case when looking for tenders, but more an advertisement looking for suggestions about what would be appropriate, including possible locations for such a commemorative piece,” Mr Dollard said.
He said that two submissions were received, but subsequently no formal process was put in place, as no funding was available to meet the notion of a sculpture.
“Some members of the town council were very much in favour of a sculpture but the executive of the town council stressed, having done the costings, that the council were not in a position to fund the sculpture proposals. So the council didn’t actually engage anyone to proceed with a sculpture. The town council is not involved with the project at this stage,” Mr Dollard commented.
Mr Power further confirmed that Ennis Town Council did not engage Mr Wrafter or any other artist to proceed with a sculpture, as they were not in a position to proceed with the initiative due to budgetary restraints.
Mr Wrafter this week acknowledged that he had not been formally contacted by the town council to proceed with plans for a sculpture.
But Councillor O’Shea stated that he and other councillors were of the opinion that they could proceed with the initiative and fundraise for it.
“We were of the opinion that the council would fund the sculpture to some extent if we came up with some funds. We have since learnt that this is not the case. However, I feel that there is money in a kitty somewhere and we will go back to the council for further funding in due course. The idea was supported by officials in the town council and I feel there will still be a way to get funding for it,” he said.

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