Wire man set to wade in to Liffey as 10-year planning permission granted


THE ERECTION in the river Liffey of a 46m (150ft) sculpture of a human figure – almost the same height as the Statue of Liberty – has been granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

The steel-lattice figure was designed by British sculptor Antony Gormley, most famous for his Angel of the North, another figure-based statue, in Gateshead, England.

Permission for the Liffey sculpture, which is based on casts of the artist’s body, was sought by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

The authority plans to erect the figure in the water at City Quay, 30m (100ft) to the east of Seán O’Casey Bridge and 12m (40ft) from the quay wall.

At exactly 46.2m (151.57ft) above the water, based on the river’s mid-low spring tide level, the sculpture will be just 30cm (11.8 inches) shorter than the Statue of Liberty from her foot to the top of her torch, and eight metres taller than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

In its decision, An Bord Pleanála said the sculpture was in keeping with the Dublin City Development Plan, which promotes public art and the exhibition of sculpture in open space. It also accorded with the docklands masterplan, which supports the provision of art at appropriate locations, the board said.

It has, however, only permitted the sculpture to stand for 10 years, after which it must either be dismantled or new planning permission must be obtained.

The condition, highly unusual in relation to sculptures or statues, is frequently used in relation to quarries or mobile phone masts, on the basis that technology or the surrounding physical conditions may change over a 10-year period, making the structure inappropriate or obsolete. In relation to the Liffey sculpture, the 10-year limit is being imposed to allow the impact of such a tall structure to be reassessed, and to see if it continues to fit in with its surroundings.

An Taisce had objected to the location of the sculpture close the the bridge, but not to the sculpture itself, and suggested that an alternative site be considered.