Sunday 30 April 2017

No more picnics for teddy bears at the Point

The 8ft tall bears striding across the concourse at the 3Arena
The 8ft tall bears striding across the concourse at the 3Arena

Kirsty Blake Knox, Alan O'Keeffe, Donal O'Donovan

The Three Bears of Dublin's docklands have been removed from outside the 3Arena by official receivers for Nama.

For several years, the 8ft statues were seen striding purposefully outside the venue at the East Link Bridge.

But on Tuesday morning they were carted away on the orders of Grant Thornton, the firm acting as receivers in matters pertaining to businessman Harry Crosbie.

Sadly, the bears will "never return" to the Point, and the receivers now in control of the artwork will consider selling it, if that's reckoned to be the best way of raising cash for Nama.

How the front of the arena looks after they were removed by Nama receivers Picture: Damien Eagers
How the front of the arena looks after they were removed by Nama receivers Picture: Damien Eagers

There are also no plans for the bears, who remain in storage, to go back on public display anywhere. Without an intervention from Nama, the bears look certain to be auctioned off on the art market. Receivers from Grant Thornton are clearing the site where the bears were located to make room for an €80m office block.

Steve Tennant and Paul McCann, partners with Grant Thornton, were appointed as receivers by Nama over assets linked to loans owed by businessman Harry Crosbie.

The valuable Three Bears sculpture is regarded as one of those assets, along with land and buildings.

"They'll now consider the best realisation strategy for the bears," a source said.

A similar structure by sculptor Patrick O'Reilly on the Wicklow sea front was reported to be worth approximately €100,000.

The removal of the bronze bears has caused great upset in the North inner city.

Already there is a call to free the 'Docklands Three'.

Sculptor Patrick O'Reilly had no idea the statues had been moved when contacted by the Irish Independent.

"It is disappointing. As an artist, you want your works to go on display in places where people can see and enjoy them.

"So I am sad to hear they are gone and very sad to hear they won't return. They were commissioned by Harry Crosbie who thought ...they would add to the cultural backdrop of the area," he said.

Local councillor Ciaran Cuffe said Dublin City Council should consider seeking to buy the three bears.

The Green Party councillor and town planner said: "The bears were very much part of the improvements in the north docklands.

"I think it would be shameful to remove them and sell them off to the highest bidder.

"Any loss of sculpture in the city is a step backwards," he added.

Local independent councillor Christy Burke called for the bears to be "set free" and placed in a public park in the north inner city.

Irish Independent

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