Dog used as ‘political football’

Dermot McCable INLM35 010
Dermot McCable INLM35 010

Lurgan historian Dermot McCabe has accused politicians of using the Master McGrath statue as a ‘political football’.

Mr McCabe, who has been researching the statue and the Master McGrath dog for around eight years, is unhappy that it has been placed in High Street.

The Lurgan man believes the campaign to have the statue moved to the town was hijacked and feels the current location is inappropriate.

Mr McCabe feels that it would have been more appropriate to site the statue in the centre of the town, across from the top of either Castle Lane or Windsor Avenue, as both roads lead to Lurgan Park.

He said the dog belongs to all the people of Lurgan and it therefore should be placed in a central location.

And he is calling for a campaign and a petition to be started to have it moved to a more central location. He explained he always had a keen interest in Master McGrath and started researching the dog around eight years ago.

Many years previously he had also discovered a two-tonne stone on a friends property at Solitude in Lurgan. He said he believed this was the burial stone of the famous greyhound owned by Lord Brownlow.

Mr McCabe said he had also worked closely with Charles Gardiner of Lurgan Chamber of Commerce who had also agreed the dog should return to the town centre.

However Mr McCabe feels that he has been shunted during plans to relocate the statue. “I want the Master McGrath in the centre of town where everyone can enjoy it. Lots of people have been complaining to me that it has been placed at the far end of town instead of in a central location,” Mr McCabe said.

Mr Gardiner, of Lurgan Forward and Lurgan Chamber of Commerce said that Lurgan Forward had worked hard to bring the Master McGrath statue back to Lurgan town centre. He explained that with the public realm works it was the perfect opportunity and it was the responsibility of the planners and Department of Social Development where the dog was placed.

Ald Stephen Moutray MLA said he took offence that the statue should not be located in High St and agreed with its location. He said he would not apologise for helping to bring it back into town.