| 10°C Dublin

Close

Premium


Uproar reveals silliness of all sides, and guilt at what we have really lost

Donal Lynch


Close

The Shelbourne Hotel and one of the Egyptian princess statues. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The Shelbourne Hotel and one of the Egyptian princess statues. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The Shelbourne Hotel and one of the Egyptian princess statues. Photo: Gerry Mooney

There was something strangely satisfying about the controversy surrounding the Shelbourne statues last week. Two equally powerful, right-on forces, Black Lives Matter hysteria and the custodians of Irish conservation, fought it out for the precious moral high ground.

The sculptures had been removed by the hotel "in light of recent world events" and the statues' alleged association with slavery. They perhaps braced themselves for a social media round of applause, but instead they were met with a chorus of tutting.

The Irish Times was appalled. An art historian said the statues didn't depict slaves; they were well-heeled Egyptian women. The council said that the whole thing is the subject of a planning enforcement investigation. The Irish Georgian Society said it was never consulted. The hotel was said to have fallen under the spell of cancel culture. An attempt to anticipate the demands of the liberal mob - for literally nobody had called for the removal of the statues - had horribly backfired.