Nobody seems to know who or what should grace the top of a monument in Westport.

Westport has a pillar, and like many other pillars in Ireland, it has its problems. Here it is not a case that there is someone on the pillar that locals do not particularly like, but that they do not have anyone up there at all. 

The statue which once stood on this pedestal from 1845 until 1923 commemorated the memory of local land agent and wealthy banker George Clendining, who was born in Westport in 1770 and was  a controversial figure during his lifetime,

The local gombeen man, who was a certain Robin Hood character, with certain philanthropic qualities.

'Big George’ as the monument became known over time, gazed out over the town until the Civil War years, when Free State troops billeted at the Town Hall used his head for target practice. 

In 1943 Westport Urban Council removed what remained of the statue, as well as the inscription panels and Clendining coat of arms which had decorated the lower part of the monument.

There is as yet no consensus as to what or who will replace Clendining. A local poet hopes that it will come sooner rather than later, 

Do Westport citizens forget 
That beauty once lived in their town 
She might indeed sojourn there yet 
If George had not been tumbled down.

This report for ‘Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 11 March 1965.