Moving Luke Kelly sculpture suggested as response to vandalism

Some councillors favour moving work after it was vandalised for a fifth time on Friday

Graffiti on the  Luke Kelly sculpture on Sheriff Street in Dublin. Photograph: Anthony Flynn

Graffiti on the Luke Kelly sculpture on Sheriff Street in Dublin. Photograph: Anthony Flynn

 

The sculpture of Luke Kelly on Sheriff Street in Dublin may have to be moved if vandalism continues, a local councillor has said.

Independent councillor Anthony Flynn has opposed the idea of moving the statue but, after it was vandalised for a fifth time on Friday, he said all options had to be on the table.

“Although the Garda are monitoring the situation, we need to reflect and see if it’s worth having a statue there, or do we need to look at having it moved,” he said. “I think now we need to reassess it.”

Mr Flynn said he visited the statue on Friday and had spoken to gardaí in Store Street station about the situation. “It’s disgraceful and ridiculous where we see a statue of one of the most well-known people from the area is being vandalised continuously,” he said.

“We won’t continue to spend the money to remove the graffiti – it costs money every time for a specialised crew to come out and clean the graffiti.”

“This is money that could be diverted into community services,” Mr Flynn said, adding that budgets are likely to be under pressure due to the fallout from the pandemic. The sculpture of Luke Kelly on Sheriff Street in Dublin may have to be moved, local councillors have said, following another instance of it being vandalised. However, some locals are strongly opposed to any such move.

Independent councillor Anthony Flynn has opposed the idea of moving the statue. But after it was vandalised again on Friday, he said all options now had to be on the table.

“Although the Garda are monitoring the situation, we need to reflect and see if it’s worth having a statue there, or do we need to look at having it moved,” he said. “I think now we need to reassess it.”

Mr Flynn said he visited the statue on Friday and had spoken to gardaí in Store Street station about the situation.

“It’s disgraceful and ridiculous where we see a statue of one of the most well-known people from the area is being vandalised continuously,” he said.

“We won’t continue to spend the money to remove the graffiti – it costs money every time for a specialised crew to come out and clean the graffiti.”

Fine Gael councillor, Ray McAdam, said that, “sadly”, now is the time to relocate the statue.

“ For whatever reason, mindless idiots think it’s ok to desecrate this statue, this commemoration to a North Wall legend. Well it’s not, and while I am loath to relocate Luke, I do think that’s what now has to happen.”

Council officials, councillors, the sculptor, Vera Klute, and the Kelly family, should discuss an appropriate alternative location befitting for “a giant of Irish music,” he said.

Fianna Fáil Deputy Lord Mayor, Racheal Batten, also believes the statue should be moved.

“It costs a fortune to clean it up every time this happens,” she said. “It’s quite clearly the same people, because it’s the same thing every time.”

She believes the work should be move to another location that is still close to where the famous Dubliner grew up, and suggests a location near the shops at the Five Lamps might be suitable. “Somewhere with more people around, and more CCTV.”

However, local independent councillor Christy Burke also said it was important not to “bow to thuggery”.

Mr Burke said he has been talking to residents who live close to the site, and they are strongly opposed to it being moved.

“The headline would be, ‘Luke evicted from Sheriff Street’. It took thirteen years to get it where it is. We shouldn’t move it.”

The damage to the statue has already been cleaned off, he said, and there are plans being discussed to introduce additional lighting and CCTV monitoring.

The gardaí have appealed for anyone with information, no matter how trivial, to come forward.

“ An Garda Síochána is actively investigating all incidents of criminal damage to the statue of Luke Kelly that have occurred over the last six months.

“With reference to two of these incidents, gardaí are pursuing a definite line of enquiry, with charges before the courts, imminent.

“For the outstanding cases we are still making enquiries, and we are seeking help from the public to come forward with any information, however trivial, that can assist us”.