Tuesday 16 July 2019

'It's another black mark against this area' - Locals outraged by vandalism of Luke Kelly statue

P Mac, a Dublin-based specialist stone cleaning and restoration company, cleaned the monument

Áine Kenny

The statue of Luke Kelly down in the docklands has been cleaned less than 24 hours after it was vandalised.

P Mac, a specialist stone cleaning and restoration company, were hired by Dublin City Council to restore the statue to its former glory.

The crew started working on the statue around 10am, and by 11am the sprayed-on black sunglasses had been completely removed.

Tracy Cassidy, Marketing Manager of P Mac, said a mild solvent was used. The structure is made of Italian marble and the black marks could not be sanded off without damaging the icon's eyes.

Locals commended the quick clean up, but were still angry about the vandalism.

"I was shocked, I was absolutely shocked. I think its a disgrace," said Mary Dunne who lives in the area.

"Luke Kelly was from the area, and you know it was to honour him, that it was put there.

"It's only another black mark against this area. There are good people who live here, who wouldn't do something like this... it is what it is."

Mary said a lot of people in the area were saddened by what happened. "I couldn't believe it when I saw it, but it's great to think that less than 24 hours later it has been cleaned up, and very well too, it's back to its original state."

The local woman said Luke Kelly meant a lot to people from the area. "People around here would remember him, personally. He was a Dublin character, and a very famous muscician."

Natasha Fey said her grandmother lived beside Luke Kelly in the flats. "To think that he came from the area that I live in, and he was well-known, and I've grown up listening to him, it's just disgraceful."

She pointed out that vandalism of statues is common across the city. "The likes of the Phil Lynott statue [was vandalised] as well. It's not nice."

She said that the clean up response was very good. "It mustn't have been easy to get off. It was probably spray paint. It must have been hard for the sculptor, who designed it, seeing it like that. It's horrible."

Natasha was at the unveiling of the statue in January. "The crowd that came out were unbelievable, from all sides of the city, people that used to live in the area that would have known Luke Kelly, who would have grown up with him. His family were down too.

"I think it's a great statue, a lot of people don't agree. They think its weird looking one, but I think it is great for the area," Natasha told Independent.ie.

Paula Boyhan said she saw a group of men cleaning the statue this morning. "I think the statue is absolutely fabulous. I was surprised that it cleaned off so well and so quickly, it was great."

Some workers eating their lunch on the docks had less investment in the story. "I didn't know about the vandalism... honestly I don't even know who they guy is," admits Dave O'Reilly.

"It was shame, but you see a lot of vandalism, and it tends to get cleaned up very quickly... I've seen worse vandalism around here," said Conor Farrell.

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