OPW picks up €16k bill for damaged artwork

‘Unbroken Line’ by Michael Warren, outside Dublin Castle, was damaged by skateboarding. Picture: William Murphy
By Noel Baker
Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent

The biggest bill for repairs relating to Office of Public Works’ property last year was €16,272.90 for a sculpture damaged by skateboarding.

It was just one of a number of OPW-maintained sites and works to suffer damage last year, a list which includes the Rock of Cashel and the Hill of Tara.

The large-scale sculpture by Michael Warren, comprising five individual painted steel forms in the lower yard of Dublin Castle, was removed last year by the OPW.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request the OPW said: “The sculpture had general wear and tear on its surfaces and skateboard damage on several of the painted surface edges.

“The cost accrued in 2018 for its repair and relocation was €16,272.90. This cost included crane removal, transportation, refurbishment, storage, surface repaint and repair. It is planned to place this sculpture in a new location in 2019.”

It was just one of two damaged artworks dealt with by the OPW last year, the other being blue paint on one of three stone figures in the grounds of the Honourable Society of King’s Inn in Dublin for which there was no cost.

Nor were there any notifications of missing artworks last year, but there was some damage to historical sites and monuments over the course of the year, sometimes as a result of suspected vandalism.

As for the Hill of Tara, the OPW said issues were “lighting fires on a national monument, scoring the ground, pitching tents causing ground disturbance, leaving large amounts of rubbish (including tents), causing concern to the general public.”

While it was all cleaned up by OPW staff it said the problem “reoccurs periodically”.

The Rock of Cashel: The €300 cost of repairing a damaged pier at the site was provided by the person responsible. Picture: Bernd Klumpp

At Maynooth Castle the OPW said the site was “constantly covered in bottles, cans, bags, boxes” leaving it in a “dangerous condition” with staff cleaning it on an ongoing basis.

At Newtown Priory in Trim in Co Meath the OPW observed “a large increase in the amount of broken bottles and rubbish” which also left it in a dangerous condition and requiring ongoing cleaning.

Two glass panels in the reception area at St Audeons in Dublin 8, costing €600 to repair, with gardaí notified, while it cost €270 to repair a damaged shaft on a headstone cross at Roscommon Abbey.

The €300 cost of repairing a damaged pier at the Rock Of Cashel was provided by the person responsible after a van accidentally collided with it.

In Co Cork, the Medici pavilion on Garnish Island sustained damage to a marble pedestal and column, “possibly caused by vandalism”. It was temporarily repaired and a full repair is due to be undertaken this spring for approximately €200.

Elsewhere, the arm rest of a chair in the style of Louis XVI in the drawing room if Dublin Castle broke in January last year, but was deemed minor damage, while windows were broken at Grange Castle in Co Kildare and a bar at the entrance gate to the Mound of Hostages in Co Meath was bent to allow access.

Three sites, including Monkstown Castle in Dublin, had to have graffiti removed, while other sites to sustain minor damage included Athcairn Castle in Duleek in Co Meath, and nearby Duleek Abbey.

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