Stolen artworks worth over €100,000 seized in Dublin

Haul of paintings and books may be ‘biggest art seizure in history of State’

Gardaí are making an appeal with regard to a number of recovered artworks that are believed to have been stolen. Gardai have identified owners for six of the paintings. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Artworks worth more than €100,000 have been seized by gardaí in west Dublin in what could be the “biggest art seizure in the history of the State”.

The 48 paintings, which include artwork by William Ashford, Brian Ballard and Mick O’Dea, were discovered in April as part of an ongoing investigation and were put on display this morning at Pearse Street Garda station.

Alongside the paintings, a number of antique books and a 100-year-old doll were discovered in what Detective Eugene McCabe, who is leading the investigation, said could be the “biggest art seizure in the history of the State”.

Superintendent Paul Moran called on anyone who may recognise the artwork and antiques or who may have been offered the items to purchase, to contact gardaí.

“We’re also appealing to people in stately homes and hotels to check similar paintings as it may be the case that the paintings on their premises have been replaced by copies,” he said.

He said the authenticity of the artwork had been confirmed by independent art and antique experts.

Supt Moran revealed the owners of six of the items had already been identified in Carlow, Dublin, Belfast and Yorkshire, adding that some of the paintings were stolen as far back as the 1980s and 1990s.

He said the value of the six recovered paintings already amounted to €35,000. “The figure may rise way above €100,000 as we progress this investigation,” he said.

Supt Moran said gardaí have yet to confirm whether the art haul is connected with organised crime in Ireland.

He asked that anyone with information contact Pearse Street station at 01-666 9000 or email to arrange a viewing of the artwork.

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