By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
A Minister has called for common sense to prevail in a row over whether Dublin city’s live animal crib should take place this Christmas.
It emerged over the weekend that the live animal crib would not be set up outside the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s residence, as has been tradition for 25 years.
The current lord mayor Caroline Conroy, a Green Party member, said that the crib was “good, but we can do better”, suggesting choirs, games, or a Santa postbox would be more interactive for children.
Fine Gael councillors criticised the decision as “Grinch-like” and said they would submit an emergency motion at a November 7th council meeting with the aim of overturning the decision.
Fine Gael junior minister Patrick O’Donovan said he was working with the Irish Farmers’ Association, who manage the animals at the crib, on a new location in the event that the decision is overturned.
Since then the row has escalated, with various elected politicians weighing in on whether the live animal crib should be held in the capital.
Former Irish president Mary McAleese is reported to have written to Ms Conroy about the issue, while former education minister and Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanafin put Dun Laoghaire forward as an alternative location.
Exactly this from @NARACampaigns. I fully support @caroline1conroy in her decision as @LordMayorDublin.
Next year will be a @fiannafailparty Mayor & they can bring back dancing monkeys & put a real baby in the live crib or whatever they & @FineGael think defines Christmas. pic.twitter.com/4UKCu8ZINc
— Cllr Claire Byrne (@CByrneGreen) October 31, 2022
When asked about the issue on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin avoided being drawn into the debate, suggesting that it was beyond his pay grade.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys told reporters on Wednesday that her grandson has the chance to see farm animals in her native Co Monaghan.
“People in the city don’t get that same opportunity,” she said.
“And I think for a young child to get that experience, to see those live animals in the centre of the city, was something that many families enjoy and I would say I hope that common sense prevails here, and a solution is found.
She added: “What I’m saying is that it’s something that I think common sense should prevail, and that a solution should be found.
“I think it’s important to say that a child going to look at an animal, I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself, the joy they have in seeing, whether it’s sheep, whether it’s goats, whether it’s cattle, it’s something to behold, and I hope that common sense prevails.”