Sunday 22 October 2017

Locals pick up the pieces after penguin statue vandalised

John O'Mahony

EVEN if it could fly, this penguin won't be going anywhere soon.

Vandals attempted to pick up the penguin after a night on the town, but instead ripped off its wings – causing thousands of euro worth of damage.

A reckless prank involving a group returning from St Patrick's Day celebrations has infuriated locals in a tourist town who have been left footing the bill.

The culprits attempted to remove a 12ft high fibre-optic statue of a penguin from outside a popular aquarium in Dingle, Co Kerry, but they fled after two flippers snapped off the structure.

CCTV footage, now in the possession of gardai, shows the men attempting to remove the statue.

The statue is the main marketing tool for a penguin enclosure at the Dingle Oceanworld tourist attraction.

Attraction

The giant penguin replica, built in the UK at a cost of over €5,000, was substantially damaged in the incident and management at the visitor attraction fear it might need to be completely rebuilt.

"We are probably facing another €5,000 bill by the time we send it back to the UK and then fork out to have the repair work done. That's not even mentioning the revenue we'll lose during the Easter holidays because we will be without our main marketing feature which attracts great attention," said Oceanworld spokesman Kevin Flannery.

The vandals struck shortly after 2.30am on March 18 but they had fled by the time gardai arrived after being alerted by a passer-by. CCTV footage taken from the scene, as well as from other locations in the town, is now being examined in an effort to identify those responsible.

Irish Independent

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