Wait is almost over as statue set to go up

Arnold Hatch among the turbines and statues that inhabit the council's Carn Depot.
Arnold Hatch among the turbines and statues that inhabit the council's Carn Depot.

It looks like the long wait for Portadown’s ‘apple’ statue is almost over.

The statue, which was commissioned over four years ago, is due to be erected in West Street “imminently” according to Craigavon Borough Council.

Lurgan’s statue, of two figures holding a piece of cloth, representing the linen trade, was erected on Tuesday.

Both figures, created by Donegal sculptor Maurice Harron, lay for 32 months at Carn Depot, delayed by bureaucracy.

Portadown’s four-metre high, stainless steel statue, representing the Bramley apple, will be situated in West Street, in full view of the Northway.

The £62,000 statues cost £177,000 to install, with all the money coming from the Department of Social Development.

It is believed part of the delays to the Portadown statue involved the foundations which could not be prepared until it was confirmed where the old railway turntable at West Street was situated,

“Not before time,” said Alderman Arnold Hatch, the council’s main observer of a project that was held up by a variety of factors.

The statues were ordered from Mr Harron in January 2010 and delivered on schedule in July the following year.

However, the process of getting them from creation to installation has been tortuous. They lay on the grass for a year before the council technicians came up with a ‘key action plan’ - development of location criteria; identification of potential locations; options appraisals; preferred options engineering and designs; statutory approvals; and installations.

“They are real works of art,” said Alderman Hatch. “But they couldn’t really be appreciated as they lay for such a long time wrapped in blue tarpaulin on the Carn grass. Thankfully, they are of stainless steel and are none the worse for wear.”

Lurgan’s shows off the town’s linen past, while an apple represents the Bramley in the Portadown area. And while Irish linen is mainly history, the apple story is alive and well, with growers progressing into areas like cider and the add-on trade.

The Lurgan statue will be prominent in the town centre – the site of the old public toilets.

As well as people in West Street, Portadown’s will be prominent from Northway, and travellers in the Dungannon direction can admire it.

Mr Hatch said, “They will be real conversation pieces into the future. Better late – very late – than never!”

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