Council tipped to replace stolen sea god statue with £15k replica
A statue of a Celtic sea god which was stolen last month is to be replaced in its original size as councillors look set to reject the option of a 20ft figure.
The mysterious theft of Manannan Mac Lir was blamed by some on Christian fundamentalists after a 5ft cross and a sign which declared 'You Shall Have No Other God But Me' was left in place of the statue.
Now Limavady councillors will be asked to consider either replacing the artwork with another the same size - which would cost in the region of £15,000 - or commissioning a larger sculpture.
It would cost approximately £30,000 to create one made of mild steel that is two or three times the size of the original.
The final decision will be made tomorrow evening at the full council meeting. However, there seems to be little appetite for anything other that an exact replica.
UUP councillor Edwin Stevenson said he would oppose the larger replacement as a "complete waste of ratepayers' money".
Mr Stevenson, who lives near where the statue had been placed at the top of Benevenagh mountain, added: "I have heard the garbage being said that this statue was taken for religious reasons but I don't accept that all. In fact I think the theft is anti-Christian because it is against the commandment 'you shall not steal'.
"I think that whoever took the statue put their hands into the pocket of every ratepayer in Limavady. But I do think it should be replaced, and I would be happy to go along with one the same size but not one three times as big."
SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said it was essential the statue was replaced but said he would not support anything other than an identical match to the original.
He said: "The original statue served this community well as the tourist attraction it was meant to be and as a piece of art I believe it was on a par with Michelangelo's work."