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Damage to Columbus Monument in Galway Condemned

10th June 2020
The monument marking explorer Christopher Columbus’s links to Galway has been vandalised The monument marking explorer Christopher Columbus’s links to Galway has been vandalised

A former Italian honorary consul has expressed disappointment at damage to a monument marking explorer Christopher Columbus’s links to Galway.

A Labour city councillor, Niall MacNelis, has also condemned the spraying of black paint on the monument, and says he has reported the matter to the Garda Siochána.

Adriano Cavalleri was honorary consul to Galway when the monument was unveiled in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to the Americas.

Mr Cavalleri explained it was intended to celebrate the navigation skills of Columbus and his crew, and the fact that he is believed to have docked in Galway port in 1477.

Late Italian historian and Columbus biographer Paolo Emilio Taviani had established that Columbus had called to the port and received chart information, Mr Cavalleri said.

“We wished to celebrate these maritime skills, and the link between Galway and Genoa where Columbus was from,” Mr Cavalleri said.

The Columbus monument was donated by the city of Genoa, and its installation close to the Spanish Arch was supported by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Earlier this week, People Before Profit called on Galway City Council to remove monuments which “glorified slavery and racism”, including the Columbus monument.

It also criticised a plaque in Tuam honouring Major Richard (Dick) Dowling who served with the Confederate Army in the US.

Cllr MacNelis said that conflating Columbus’s visit to Galway in 1477 with slavery did “no service to the Black Lives Matter campaign”.

“If this is the approach, where do we stop – does this mean we don’t remember the Galway soldiers who lost their lives while fighting abroad,” Cllr MacNelis said.

Published in Galway Harbour
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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