Two men arrested in relation to vandalism of Luke Kelly statue

Two men have been arrested in relation to two separate incidents of vandalism on the €80,000 statue of the late musician and singer Luke Kelly.
Two men arrested in relation to vandalism of Luke Kelly statue
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at the statue of Luke Kelly on Dublin's Guild Street, in January of 2020. File pic.

Two men have been arrested in relation to two separate incidents of vandalism on the €80,000 statue of the late musician and singer Luke Kelly.

The men were taken into custody late on Monday night and have since been released from Store St. Garda Station.

A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The marble statue was been vandalised five times since being unveiled in January of lat year.

The arrests are not the for latest vandalism which occurred last Friday night. In March, another man in his 40s was arrested in relation to an incident which occurred on March 24.

The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Former Lord Mayor Christy Burke, who was instrumental in having the statue put in place at the corner of Guild Street and Sheriff Street at the mouth of the Royal Canal - close to Kelly’s childhood home, said he was “relieved that the perpetrators are being brought to justice".

“All of this vandalism is really upsetting a lot of people. It really is similar to assaulting the great man himself. Residents treat the statue as if Luke is still alive. They are very protective of the statue.

“The graffiti sprayed on to the statue is an insult to all who have worked hard to have this statue erected, to Luke’s family, to Dublin City Council and to the local residents. Thankfully new sophisticated cameras and illuminating lights will be installed soon.”

Dublin City Council confirmed that individuals had been arrested and added that protective measures will be put in place in the coming days.

The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

A spokesperson also added that the costs of installing the security cameras and additional lighting has not been fully costed as of yet.

Last Friday at 10.30pm, the Vera Klute designed statue, was sprayed with red paint in the shape of glasses but the offensive words, “Fuck Luke Kelly” were added at the foot of the bust.

Dublin City Council contacted P-MAC Cleaning and Restoration services and the statue was cleaned early on Saturday morning.

The statue, one of two placed in Dublin, has on all occasions, been painted with black or red paint in the shape of glasses.

Every time the statue which has had to been cleaned by the company P MAC Cleaning and Restoration services, the cost is €240 plus VAT.

The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
The Luke Kelly statue on Guild Street, Dublin being cleaned by Ross Sheridan from P MAC Cleaning and Restoration Services, on behalf of Dublin County Council, after it was defaced in April of this year. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Calls have been made to have the statue relocated, including by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan who voiced his concerns. However, the Council and local residents have declined to do so.

The statue was unveiled on the 35th anniversary of the 43-year-old singer’s death by President Michael D Higgins in January last year.

The second, privately paid-for statue, is designed and created by John Coll, who created the sculptures of poet Patrick Kavanagh and playwright Brendan Behan.

The statue, is located close to the National Conference Centre, which also cost €80,000 was paid for by the huge Luke Kelly fan and friend, the late Gerry Hunt who died last year at the age of 82.

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at Store Street on 01 666 8000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up