Nickey Rackard commemorative statue. Selskar Square, Wexford.

"It's a long time since a piece of art created such a level of debate in Wexford. Ironic when one thinks of the level of artistic activity in the county. Perhaps there was a small bit of snobbery attached to the fact that one of the most high profile pieces to be commissioned was be of 'a hurler, a common sportsman'? It wasn't going to be abstract or austere. It was going to be tangible and something that the ordinary person could immediately identify with. The Rackard story is so much bigger than GAA. His story encompasses sport, social upheaval, private battle and personal victory. He was the iconic leader of a band of men who brought immense joy to people at a time when they were quite simply on their knees socially and economically. In the 1950's Wexford (and Ireland) was a bleak place. Unemployment and emigration were the order of the day. Hopes and dreams were often conjured on the boat to Britain in search of a better life. In the midst of this gloom came a band of men who shattered the grey colour that encased their people. Rackard was the iconic leader of this band. His name was synonymous with power and drive. Kids in every corner of Ireland played 'Rackard specials' after school. Wexford people were relevant on the big stage! Hopes and dreams could actually come to fruition!" Cllr George Lawlor. 2012.

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RTE news 19/3/2012

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