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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 07:16 GMT
'Saintly giant' plan for city river
The statute would be 160ft high
The statute would be 160ft high
Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Rio has Christ the Redeemer and New York has the Statue of Liberty, but Londonderry is now vying for world attention with plans for its own city landmark.

A gigantic monument of Saint Columba is being considered for the middle of the River Foyle.

The major sculpture would dominate the river. It would be dedicated to Columba, whose connection with the city stretches back for centuries.

Tony Candon of Derry City Council said "Columba was a Donegal man".

"He goes by two names. He goes by the Latin form of the name - Columba - and the Irish form - Columcille," he said.

"Both come from the word meaning a dove, which indicates a man of peace, a man of God.

Sculptor Maurice Harron
Sculptor Maurice Harron said there would be a 360 degree viewpoint

"He is in fact one of the three great early Irish saints - St Patrick, Brigid and Columba.

"And I suppose, like Patrick, he can be claimed by everybody."

The man responsible for other highly acclaimed sculptures in the north west was at first highly sceptical - now he believes it can de done with a team of 20 over two years.

Sculptor Maurice Harron said the statute would be 160ft high.

"We envisage there would be a viewing platform inside - around about the neck area or shoulder area," he said.

"This would give a 360 degree viewpoint. There would be river taxis to take people from the Cityside, from the Guildhall, and city council offices over, and a bridge to the Waterside."

The cost of the saintly giant would be about 15m
The cost of the saintly giant would be about 15m

The cost of the saintly giant would be about 15m.

Project co-ordinator Paddy Doherty said: "If Manchester United were buying a footballer tomorrow, they wouldn't get a good one for 15m.

"It is not a lot of money for what it is going to produce. It is an investment which will - hundreds of times - pay that money back to us."

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