New statue of Sean Russell ‘still contentious’

CONTROVERSY surrounds a new statue of IRA chief of staff Sean Russell, erected in Dublin this week to replace an earlier monument damaged by those protesting against the republican’s links to the Nazis.

The solid bronze statue was put in place on Wednesday and replaced a smaller stone structure which had been decapitated in 2005.

The statue in Fairview Park shows Russell, who died on board a German U-boat in 1940, dressed in a trench coat and hat.

It was commissioned by the National Graves Association.

When the statue was damaged beyond repair four years ago there were demands that it be replaced by a monument of a less divisive figure.

However, National Graves Association chairman Sean Whelan said: “Sean Russell fought in the 1916 rebellion, the war of independence and the civil war. He became a senior republican figure and eventually IRA chief of staff in the 1930s. He went to Germany, the Soviet Union and the US seeking arms. If people want to call him a fascist they would also have to claim he was a communist.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Naoise Ó Muiri said the statue should have been replaced with one of the late actress Maureen Potter.

“This statue is in a different form and as such may have needed planning permission, this is something that I will be looking into.”

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