The new Niall Horan mural on Dominick Street, Mullingar.

Where's Joe? Dollard demands to know why Joe was erased

Why has Joe Dolan, Mullingar’s favourite son, been deposed by Niall Horan?, demanded Cllr Michael Dollard.

He was referring to the new mural beside the post office on Dominick Street, Mullingar.

Speaking at a meeting of the Mullingar Kinnegad Municipal District this week, he said he has known Niall Horan for “donkey’s years” and has “great time for him”, but was “taken aback” to find that images of other Mullingar greats, Joe Dolan and Bressie included, had been taken down and one of Niall put up in their place.

“Joe will always be our favourite son,” he declared.

The Joe Dolan statue on the Market Square, Mullingar.

He said that the most photographed location in the county is the Joe Dolan statue on the Market Square. People come from around the country and from abroad specifically to visit his grave, his statue, Dolan’s pub and the bridge named after him, he said.

Cllr Dollard said he understood it was Mullingar Chamber of Commerce that commissioned the new mural. He accepted that the hoarding on Dominick Street was rotten and had to be replaced, but demanded to know why they had removed Joe.

He said that Joe’s brother, Ben Dolan was “disappointed, quite frankly”.

With the Fleadh Cheoil coming back to the town this year, there was an opportunity “to sell” people like Joe Dolan in Ireland and internationally, he stated.

David Jones, director of services, confirmed that the mural was a chamber initiative. It was updated and Niall Horan was considered more contemporary. He said that Joe Dolan was well represented with the statue and the bridge.

Cllr Emily Wallace said there might be an opportunity for the arts section of Westmeath County Council to brighten up the town with another mural. Mullingar produces great musicians and they should honoured for their contribution to the music scene, she said.

Cllr Bill Collentine said he understood a plan to put another mural further down the town was with the chamber at the moment.

Cllr Hazel Smyth, who is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that plans for other murals are being discussed and suggested that the concerns raised would be addressed.