Plans to erect a statue in honour of legendary Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings in his home city of Newry have reached the penultimate stage.
The project took its first tentative steps earlier this year, when Councillor Michael Savage (SDLP) brought a motion to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to acknowledge ‘Big Pat’s’ legacy.
The Friends of Big Pat Group has been established in Newry to commission the statue to honour the footballer’s achievements on and off the pitch.
The motion to recognise the former Arsenal and Spurs keeper has now entered Stage 3 for appraisal following support from the equality and good relations reference group.
The council’s strategy, policy and resources committee will note the progress at tonight’s (August 11) meeting.
Councillor Savage, council chairperson, said: “I’m delighted that the motion has been received well by the equality and good relations group and will now progress on further in the council.
“A statue of Pat Jennings would be a fitting tribute to a living legend of Newry, who has been a remarkable ambassador to the city both on and off the pitch.
“In terms of the location of the statue, that would be a matter to be decided at a later date through the correct council process.
“I would hope that the vision for a statue of Pat Jennings can now become a reality for the citizens of his native home of Newry, as it is only right and proper.”
The project to erect a sculpture of the Northern Ireland record-breaking goalie has received cross-community support.
Slieve Gullion councillor David Taylor (UUP), who seconded the original motion, said of Mr Jennings: “He is very proud of his local roots and his contribution to Northern Ireland international football in particular is legendary.
“It is only right that a permanent tribute is provided to Pat Jennings.
“The people of Newry take great pride in his achievements and certainly from a personal point of view, as a keen Northern Ireland football fan, I would be extremely pleased to see one of our greatest ever International football players recognised in this way.”
Following a successful appraisal by the council, the motion will go to Stage 4 for decision in the coming months.