AN iconic mural featuring the face of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara has been removed because it upset American tourists.
It has been painted over by a local authority just weeks ahead of a local Latin-American cultural festival in Kilkee, Co Clare to celebrate links with Guevara.
The Americans left town after seeing the mural. The face of Guevara, who visited Kilkee in 1961, had adorned the same spot for the previous two Che do Bheatha festivals.
But Clare County Council staff removed the 20ft high mural yesterday despite agreement at a Town Council meeting on Monday that it should stay until the festival was over.
This is the third year of the festival, which was established in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the visit to the area by Che Guevara. Guevara's plane had been grounded at Shannon Airport so he and his entourage spent a night in the west Clare resort town.
The world-renowned image was created by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick after a chance meeting with Guevara in the Marine Hotel in Kilkee during that visit.
Kilkee Town Council agreed in April the mural should be painted over and no future murals be located on this wall.
Festival organisers were informed last week the mural would have to be removed.
Kilkee Chamber of Commerce president Johnny Redmond said: "The festival is not political. It is a festival of Latin-American culture, but once again Clare Co Council is shooting itself in the foot."
Clare County Council said the mural was in breach of local government legislation.