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Luke statues vandalism is 'an attack on memory of a beloved Dubliner'


A worker cleans the vandalised Luke Kelly statue on South King Street

A worker cleans the vandalised Luke Kelly statue on South King Street

A worker cleans the vandalised Luke Kelly statue on South King Street

Gardai are investigating if there is a link between the vandalism of two statues of singer and folk musician Luke Kelly on opposite sides of Dublin city on Tuesday night.

The statue at Guild Street, in the heart of Dublin's Docklands where Kelly was born and reared, was vandalised for the sixth time.

Meanwhile, the bronze figure of Luke playing the banjo at South King Street, near St Stephen's Green on the southside, was attacked for the first time.

"In both incidents white paint was thrown over the statues and we are examining if the two acts of vandalism could be linked," said a garda spokesman. "The incident on Guild Street was reported at 11.55pm, and the incident on King Street South was reported at 8:55am yesterday morning.

"No arrests have been made in either incident and the investigation is ongoing."

A motive for the attacks is not known, and it is not yet known why the marble bust with metal hair statue at Guild Street has been coming under sustained targeting by vandals.


The statue on Guild Street

The statue on Guild Street

The statue on Guild Street

Local councillor and former lord mayor Christy Burke, has now called for a 24-hour community guard on the statue at Guild Street, beside the Convention Centre, which was unveiled in January last year.

"I'll join the patrol myself, but some action has to be taken until a more long-term solution is found," he told the Herald.

"These attacks are not just an attack on Luke and his memory, but an attack on art and the citizens of Ireland."


The statue of the famous Dubliners singer is situated beside the Royal Canal, near his former Sheriff Street home.

However, it has repeatedly been vandalised with paint and was last attacked on June 1, leading to fresh criticism from local representatives who have called it a crime against a community.

Dublin City Council said in a statement that it "condemns the latest attack on two public art works in the city centre".

"Both statues have been cleaned and returned to their former condition. The council will continue to work with An Garda Siochana to try to stop this senseless vandalism and appeals to any members of the public to contact the gardai if they have any information which may assist them in their inquiries," it said.

"We continue to explore options to reduce the chance of this vandalism occurring again and discussions are ongoing with An Garda Siochana regarding the provision of direct CCTV coverage of the sculpture and enhanced lighting of the statue at Sheriff Street."

Gardai said in statement: "An Garda Siochana is actively investigating all incidents of criminal damage to the statue of Luke Kelly, that have occurred over the last six months.

"With reference to two of these incidents, gardai are pursuing a definite line of inquiry, with charges before the courts imminent. For the outstanding cases we are still making enquiries, and we are seeking help from the public to come forward with any information, however trivial, that can assist us," the statement added.

During the most recent incident before this week, the culprits painted red glasses on Kelly's face and wrote 'F**k You Luke' on the plinth in the north inner city. In previous attacks, black paint has been used to carry out similar vandalism.

The statue was first attacked in June last year, and it was targeted again in January, March and April this year.

There have been calls to move the statue entirely to a new location, but Sheriff Street residents are set to resist the idea.

The statue was first erected on Sheriff Street to mark the 35th anniversary of Luke Kelly's death, Kelly, who sang with The Dubliners, died on January 30, 1984, at the age of 43. The two statues were unveiled on both sides of the Liffey last year to mark the 35th anniversary of Kelly's death.