Telecoms firm Eir has been accused of “corporate vandalism” after a landmark public art project was blocked out by one of its rebranding banners.
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Chris O’Leary, hit out at the company yesterday after city planners ordered the removal of the giant banner from the upper floors of the Singer’s Corner building.
It is the second time the company has landed in hot water over its €16m rebranding campaign.
Last weekend, it emerged that the company could face referral to the Irish Aviation Authority after it launched a drone, without OPW permission, to capture aerial footage of the Skellig islands off Kerry, which now features in its TV ads.
City planners investigated the Singer’s Corner banner yesterday after it was highlighted by the Irish Examiner, and they confirmed that it is now due to be removed on Sunday. However, Mr O’Leary said it should be removed immediately.
“I am appalled that somebody can erect a sign like this without the city’s permission,” he said. “I find it offensive that someone thinks they can come along and drape a building like this.”
Mr O’Leary said he was particularly angry that this building had been selected, given the effort and the amount of public money involved in the public art project, and the positive feedback it had generated.
Last year, artist Johnny Bugler won the commission to decorate the building at the junction of Washington St and Grand Parade as part of a city council-commissioned pilot public art project.
He and his team adorned the building with a striking black-and-gold motif, a nod to the floral pattern found on old Singer sewing machines.
The city officials driving the scheme said they hoped it would bring a bit of life and colour into the city, and “start a conversation” about how similar city centre spaces are used.
Fine Gael councillor Laura McGonigle described the banner as “disgraceful”.
“The council provided funding for the art project and it was never envisaged that it would be covered in advertising,” she said.
— Eimear Ryan (@eimear_ryan) September 21, 2015
A spokesperson for Eir said they placed similar banners at high-profile locations in Dublin, Cork, and Galway to drive awareness of their brand but confirmed the Singer’s Corner banner will be gone by Sunday.
Singer’s have occupied the building since 1875. The building is also home to several artists’ studios.
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