Statue of Luke Kelly vandalised for fifth time

Sophisticated new security cameras and illuminating lights are to be placed around an €80,000 statue of the late musician and singer Luke Kelly which has been vandalised for the fifth time in 16 months.

Once again the marble statue located in Sheriff St and designed by artist Vera Klute, was daubed with red paint in the shape of glasses but on this occasion the offensive words, “F..k Luke Kelly” were daubed at the foot of the bust. Kelly was a member of the traditional group, The Dubliners.

Independent councillors Christy Burke and Anthony Flynn who represent Dublin Central and Dublin north inner city voiced their disgust at the latest defacing.

The work was commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2014 when Cllr Burke was elected as Mayor. The statue is a 1.8-metre-high marble bust, with copper wire used for Kelly's trademark beard.

The statue stands at the corner of Guild Street and Sheriff Street at the mouth of the Royal Canal - close to Kelly’s childhood home.

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact them. A garda spokesperson said: Gardaí are investigating criminal damage caused to a statue in the Sherriff Street area of Dublin 1 that occurred on Friday at approximately 10:30pm. Investigations are continuing.

“(We) are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at Store Street on 01 666 8000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Dublin City Council contacted P MAC Cleaning and Restoration services and the statue is now clean.

Cllr Burke said that statue will not be moved and explained that the Council and gardai are have been working on installing additional security cameras and will be illuminating it. Calls were previously made for the statue to be moved.

“The legacy of Luke Kelly will never be removed. The gardai along with the Council will be installing sophisticated security cameras and illuminating lights. The residents do not want him moved nor do his family.

“The family know that the people around here are decent people but whom ever is carrying out this thuggery are causing so much upset to to residents and I assume his family.

“Shame on whoever did this. People around this area adore the statue and treat it as if it is Luke and he is still alive.

“Locals were out cleaning the area last night and they were delighted that so many visitors wanted their photos taken with the statue.”

Dublin City Council has been liaising with gardai on how best to protect the statue for several weeks rather than moving it elsewhere in the city.

The statue, one of two placed in Dublin, has on all occasions, been painted with black or red paint in the shape of glasses.

Every time the statue which has had to been cleaned by the company P MAC Cleaning and Restoration services, the cost is €240 plus VAT.

Public art manager with the Council Ruairí Ó Cuív has said that moving it from its canal basin setting may not be the best option as it is site specific.

The statue was unveiled on the 35th anniversary of the 43-year-old singer’s death by President Michael D Higgins in January last year.

The second privately paid for statue, is designed and created by John Coll, who created the sculptures of poet Patrick Kavanagh and playwright Brendan Behan.

The statue, is located close to the National Conference Centre, which also cost €80,000 was paid for by the huge Luke Kelly fan and friend, the late Gerry Hunt who died last year at the age of 82.

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