Church seeking council's blessing
By HANNAH ROSS
MOTORISTS taking the northern entrance into Lismore may soon be greeted by a life-sized statue of Jeremiah Doyle, Lismore's first Bishop.
The Catholic Church has offered to make a gift of the statue, worth about $60,000, for placement in the centre of the new Dawson and Leycester streets roundabout.
The statue will add to the Catholic precinct at one of the city's busy entrances, with Trinity Catholic College on the left of Dawson Street and St Carthage's Cathedral on the right.
Lismore City Council staff have made a recommendation the council endorses the proposed statue on the grounds it is 'appropriate for the location and will save council funding an alternate design'.
Councillors will vote on the matter at tomorrow's council meeting. If approved, a concept sketch of the proposal will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days.
The statue will replace a plaque for Bishop Doyle that used to be mounted on a block of sandstone at the intersection.
The Bishop arrived in Lismore in 1878 and was responsible for the building of St Carthage's Cathedral. He was the first chairman of Lismore Base Hospital, he secured the Rocky Creek area as the city's water catchment, and he persuaded the State Government to extend the railway line to Lismore and build a telephone exchange for the city. He was the first person to make a phone call from that exchange.
Bishop Doyle died in 1909. His remains rest in St Carthage's chapel.
Cr Ros Irwin said she would not be supporting the proposed statue on the grounds that anything installed on the city's roundabouts was effectively public art and there was a proper process by which such works were selected.
Cr Irwin also questioned the appropriateness of putting a Catholic monument at the site, given the majority of people in the city were not Catholic.
But Fr Dennis Carroll, administrator of St Carthage's, said his personal view was that a statue of Bishop Doyle was entirely appropriate for the site.
"There are many entrances to Lismore and no one entrance can sum up a town," Fr Carroll said.