A backlash is growing against the decision of Green party Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy to ban live animals from the traditional life-size Nativity crib at Dublin’s Mansion House.
For more than 35 years, donkeys, goats and sheep have made the Nativity scene extra special for small children, and alongside the figures of Mary and Joseph reminded thousands of visitors of the magic of the Christmas story.
Although the crib is organised each Christmas by Dublin City Council and the Irish Farmers Association, the farmer’s organisation say they had received no correspondence before the ban was passed by the Council’s protocol committee.
Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín, said that the “terrible decision by Dublin City Council” should be reversed.
“To cancel this Christmas highlight for children is a disgraceful decision,” he said. “Over the decades many children, especially those from the city, who may never see farm animals, have come to visit this festive favourite. The animals have responded positively to the petting and affection. They are in a confined space, but most farm animals would be confined to sheds in the wintertime. Are we now going to see the closure of petting farms around the country?”
“This action by the Grinch like Green Party to close down one of the most important Children’s attractions at Christmas is an extreme action and is out of touch with real people. We demand that it is reversed and that the scrooge-like Green Party Lord Mayor show some common sense in future”
A petition began by the TD has already attracted hundreds of signatures.
Comments by an animal rights activist also provoked some controversy.
John Carmody told extra.ie : ‘Sighting the hideous display as something from the darks days of when religion had complete control over Irish society – and when society knew no better about keeping sentient animals stationed and confined.
Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly said that the ban indicated that the country was moving in a ‘joyless’ direction.
"We’re moving in a joyless direction" Ciara and Shane discuss the news that the real-life Christmas crib outside The Mansion House will be cancelled for the first time in 27 years. @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/cUiUFAexx4
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 28, 2022
A live Christmas Crib grounded the Christmas story for so many families in Dublin…. Now Banned pic.twitter.com/RzN5R9q5kg
— fr Paddy (@frpaddybyrne) October 28, 2022
Fianna Fáíl Cllr for Dún Laoghaire said that the live crib would be welcome there.
As Cathaoirleach I’m happy to propose we host the live crib in Dún Laoghaire. Christmas is about tradition and this one is important for Dublin and visitors. pic.twitter.com/eLEZXQyq7t
— Mary Hanafin (@MaryHanafin1) October 28, 2022