Former Liberal Democrat Councillor for Moseley and Kings Heath Ward, Martin Mullaney, is shocked to discover additions are to be made to the Kennedy Memorial Mural.
In the coming months, the long awaited John F Kennedy memorial will be unveiled in Digbeth, appropriately across the road from the Irish Centre. However, people will get a shock with they discover the the new Labour run Birmingham City Council has decided to add a Labour Councillor’s head to the memorial.
Readers will be aware that the original John F Kennedy memorial was unveiled in St Chads Circus in 1968. Unfortunately this memorial was demolished in 2007 for a major road junction, but plans were announced to recreate the memorial somewhere in Digbeth.
As the then Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture I led the group that sought a new respectful location for the memorial. Prior to my inclusion there had been crazy proposals to have bits of the mural either above a shop front or on the gable end of Dubliner pub in Digbeth. Plus there were also proposals to include modern day figures such as Bob Geldof, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and recently deceased Labour Councillor Mike Nangle.
The group I led consulted with the local Irish community and a new location on the corner of Floodgate Street and High Street Deritend was agreed. Plus it was agreed that the mural would not have modern figures, including former Councillor Mike Nangle, but remain exactly as it was in 1968.
The creation of the mural started last October and is now nearly finished. However, the new Labour administration has told the artist, Oliver Budd that they want former Labour Councillor Mike Nangle included in the mural.
Why is Mike Nangle included? Yes, Mike was a lovely person and he was someone I had many a pleasant pint of beer with at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley. But he had absolutely nothing to do with the creation or restoration of the Kennedy memorial. There are far more relevant people who could have been included in the memorial . For example Senator Bobby Kennedy? Father Maguire of St Catherine’s Church, Bristol Street who raised the money in 1968 to fund the mural? Members of the Irish Welfare, who with me, worked to find a new respectful site?
There has been no consultation with the local Irish community and the decision has been done in secret. It’s a ‘take it or lump’ decision that is becoming all too common with this new Labour run Council.