Rebels replace Che on the double

The mural of Che Guevara at the Marine Hotel in Kilkee, Co Clare. Picture: Eamon Ward
The mural of Che Guevara at the Marine Hotel in Kilkee, Co Clare. Picture: Eamon Ward

Locals in Kilkee have rebelled against Clare County Council’s decision to scrub out a mural of Che Guevara by replacing it with two more.

The appearance of the historic figure in two murals on private properties in recent days follows the Council removing a large mural of Guevara on the Alley Walls in the west Clare town last week.

The drawings — one on the side of the Marine Hotel complex — comes ahead of the third annual Che do Bheatha festival celebrating his visit to Kilkee in 1961.

Local businessman and founding member of the Kilkee Chamber of Commerce, John Williams, described the erection of the murals as “a spontaneous reaction by local people to the high-handed way in which the council removed the mural”, as it contravened legislation.

Mr Williams said: “There isn’t anything organised about it. It is people showing their own frustration at what the council did. From talking to people,

” I would expect that there would be around six Che Guevara murals to be in place around Kilkee.”

He said that the erection of the new murals “is in the spirit of Che Guevara”.

Chairman of Kilkee Tourism, Tom Byrne, said he is “not surprised” by the new murals.

The founder of the Che Do Bheatha festival said: “There was such a negative reaction to the Council’s heavy- handedness this year that it seemed inevitable that more such images have now appeared.”

Mr Byrne accused the council of being “very selective and prompt in its enforcement of planning legislation where they consider something graffiti”.

“Nothing, however, will replace the original mural on the Alley Walls which the Cuban ambassador, Teresa Trujilio has said was the best replacement of the original one done by Jim Fitzpatrick outside of Cuba.”

Businessman and Libertas founder, Declan Ganley, has previously hit out at plans for a Galway memorial to Che Guevara as a “monument to a mass murderer”.

Commenting on the appearance of murals of Che Guevara on private property in Kilkee, Mr Ganley commented: “There are no laws against bad taste.”

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