SF councillor defends claim that “even ISIS” wouldn’t have knocked down holy well stones

Pa Daly had raised objections to the partial demolition of a historic holy well

SF councillor defends claim that “even ISIS” wouldn’t have knocked down holy well stones

Image: The Kerryman / Facebook

A Sinn Féin councillor has defended his claim that “even ISIS” would have spared a Kerry holy well from demolition work.

Kerry County Council says it removed stones from the recorded monument earlier this week due to concerns over public safety.

Pa Daly, a Tralee-based solicitor, told Newstalk.com that the remark in no way compared the council to a terrorist organisation.

The councillor was quoted in today’s Kerryman newspaper as calling on the local authority to explain why the dig was allowed to go ahead.

“Who the hell authorised the work? Even ISIS wouldn't have done this,” he was quoted as saying at a meeting of Tralee Municipal District.

The comment has since sparked a stream of ridicule online, but Mr Daly stood by the statement when contacted by Newstalk.com.

“IS have a history of taking down old historic structures they don’t like. This is a holy well - it doesn’t have any images they’d object to,” he said.

Asked if he considered the remark fair, he added: “I wasn’t talking about people being blown up.”

Mr Daly claimed the so-called Sunday's Well was partially demolished in the absence of consultation with archaeologists or the National Monuments Service.

Complaints

Kerry County Council said it began work at the site on Monday to “improve public safety” in what is a “busy residential area”.

“Following complaints, and in an effort to improve public safety, [we] agreed to carry out remedial works.

“The works involve the installation of a grill/mesh over the opening of the well to improve safety, i.e. to eliminate the risk of people falling/climbing in and also to limit litter or items being thrown into the well as the well opening has often been heavily littered.

“During the works, a number of large stones which formed a vaulted arch, which are not believed to be part of the original construction, were removed and are being replaced using lime mortar.”

The National Monuments Service could not be immediately reached for comment.