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Vandals hurl red paint over WWI soldier sculpture on loan in Dublin

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Gardai and OPW staff team up to clean The Haunting Soldier statue after the attack in St Stephen's Green

Gardai and OPW staff team up to clean The Haunting Soldier statue after the attack in St Stephen's Green

Josepha Madigan

Josepha Madigan

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Gardai and OPW staff team up to clean The Haunting Soldier statue after the attack in St Stephen's Green

Gardai are investigating after a statue to commemorate the ending of World War I was vandalised with red paint in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Minister Josepha Madigan expressed her "disappointment" about the attack on The Haunting Soldier sculpture, which she unveiled in St Stephen's Green earlier this month.

"This installation honours all those who died in the terrible suffering of World War I," Ms Madigan said.

"It is incredibly moving and has proved immensely popular.

"There is no bravery in throwing paint at a statue in the middle of the night.

Damage

"My department has been in touch with the OPW in relation to the damage and I understand that the installation will be cleaned up today."

A team of cleaners was yesterday morning tasked with removing the paint from the sculpture.

They used solvents, brushes and power-washers to scrub off the gloss paint, which cannot be removed by water alone.

Gardai also remained at the scene yesterday morning.

The sculpture is made from scrap metal, including horseshoes, spanners, car jacks and brake discs.

It was brought to Ireland by Dublin solicitor Sabina Purcell, who discovered that she had a family connection to soldiers who had served in the Great War.

This led her to explore how the nation could remember and commemorate the troops from Ireland who gave their lives in World War I and also those who survived and returned home.

The six-metre-high sculpture was erected in St Stephen's Green park on November 4.

The imposing figure, depicting a weary soldier returning from battle, was designed by Martin Galbavy and constructed by Chris Hannam at Dorset Forge and Fabrication in the south of England.

A garda spokesperson confirmed that officers were investigating criminal damage to the sculpture.

"Gardai are investigating criminal damage caused to a statue in the St Stephen's Green area of Dublin on November 22 at approximately 2am," the spokesperson said.

"No arrests have been made at this stage.

Centenary

"A scene is currently in place at the statue. Investigations are continuing."

A spokesperson for the Office of Public Works (OPW) said the statue would remain in St Stephen's Green until Monday as scheduled, coinciding with the centenary commemorations to mark the ending of World War I.

"OPW staff are in the process of removing the red paint from The Haunting Soldier which was vandalised overnight and this should be completed shortly," the spokesperson said.

"The statue will remain on display in St Stephen's Green Park until Monday evening before heading back to the UK."


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