From the Guardian:

People living near a pagan statue that draws thousands of tourists every year to Northern Ireland's lakelands are threatening a campaign of civil disobedience amid concerns it could be moved to Belfast.

The Janus, which has stood in the Caldragh graveyard on Boa Island in Co Fermanagh since it was put up by the Celts more than 2,000 years ago, inspired the Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to write the poem, 'January God'. Locals hold the 2ft tall figure, depicting a man on one side and a female on the other, in awe.

But now rumours are circling that the statue may be moved to the Ulster Museum for its own protection. Opponents say it would be like moving Stonehenge to London.

Gerry Carrigan has lived a mile and a half from the Janus site for more than 60 years. 'I will cling on to it myself if I come across anyone trying to uproot it,' he said. 'The Janus has been here for more than 2,000 years. This place is its home, not some museum in Belfast.'

Looking around last week at his fellow protesters gathered inside the graveyard where the statue stands, Carrigan added: 'These people and more like them are prepared to do the same. We will physically stand in the way of anyone trying to take the Janus away.'

But there is concern among some archaeologists that the elements have badly eroded the statue. A spokesman for the National Museums Northern Ireland refused to state if they wanted it moved to Belfast. 'The Ulster Museum is committed to preserving objects of historical importance,' the spokesman said. 'The museum's position on any valuable public asset which is of value to our heritage is that this would be best preserved in a protected, sheltered and conditioned environment. In the case of any scheduled monument on private property, such a decision is down to the landowner and the Department of the Environment.'

Jim Cunningham, a local historian, tour guide and headmaster of nearby St Davog's Primary School in Beleek, said there was an alternative way of protecting the Janus. 'If this statue was situated five miles away across the border in the Irish Republic, there would be no question of moving it,' he said. 'In Tara the famous High Cross was not moved out of the centre of Kells but rather placed in protective glass. This was what happened to statues in Clonmacnoise too. They were moved into protective casing just 20 yards from their original location.

'In the summer, whenever I take tourists around Fermanagh one of the main things they ask to see is the Janus figure. It is a world-famous attraction. Look at any book on Celtic civilisation anywhere on the planet and you will find a picture of the Janus in its pages.'

A mile and a half from the graveyard in Kells, a popular tourist attraction for fishing, local bed and breakfast owners said that moving the statue would damage tourism. A local filmmaker and B&B owner, Alwyn James, said there were concerns that the authorities were planning to uproot the Janus and replace it with a plastic replica. 'It would be an insult if the statue was replaced by a Celtic version of a plastic gnome,' he said.

Historians believe that Boa Island was a place of pagan worship, and that is why the Janus figure was placed there originally.

There is, however, a debate over whether a Christian building was constructed on the site in the post-pagan world. There are Christian graves dating back to the 13th century at the spot, but no evidence of any Christian church.