Society claims Shelbourne Hotel removed statues 'with no planning permission'

Society claims Shelbourne Hotel removed statues 'with no planning permission'

The hotel said the statues have been removed "in light of recent world events" and the statues' association with slavery.

The Irish Georgian Society has said it was never consulted about the removal of four statues from Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.

The bronze sculptures of two princesses and their slave girls, which have stood outside for more than 150 years, were taken down because of their association with slavery.

The hotel said the statues have been removed "in light of recent world events" and the statues' association with slavery.

The society said that any such works require planning permission, which it believes was not sought.

It has contacted Dublin City Council urging them to address the matter.

Frank McDonald, former environment editor with The Irish Times, has told Newstalk Breakfast: "I've been around a long time and I've seen a lot of shocking things happening in Dublin - including the blowing up of Nelson's Pillar - but this is really bizarre.

"The four bronze statues were cast in Paris and they've been standing in front of the hotel holding up their torches for more than 150 years.

"They're part of the heritage and cultural memory of Dublin, and so what it is, they depict two Nubian princesses and two slave girls from ancient Egypt because that was 4,000 years ago.

"So they had nothing to do with modern slavery and the demand for the removal of statues associated with the 18th-century slave trade, such as the one that was dumped in Bristol Harbour last month".

"The hotel admits itself that there had been no complaints about them, it was just a decision made by the Shelbourne itself and its owners - Kennedy Wilson - and the operators of the hotel, Marriott International.

Both of them are US companies and it seems to me that what they've done in this case was to foist American cancel culture on Dublin's oldest grand hotel, in what I can only describe as a high-handed exercise in so-called political correctness.

"And this was done without any public debate and, more importantly, with no planning permission".

"There's nothing on file to show that they applied for planning permission for this - if they had, there would have been a public debate of course".

"The basic point is that the Shelbourne is a protected structure and any material changes to the building must have planning permission, and that includes its curtilage".

"It's illegal to make changes to a protected structure without planning permission.

"I've lodged a complaint with the Planning Enforcement Division of Dublin City Council, asking for an immediate investigation and urging them to serve a warning notice on the hotel as soon as possible."

"This is just nonsensical, it's something that shouldn't have happened, it's something that derives from the Black Lives Movement - which I totally support - in the United States.

"But that doesn't mean that you suddenly turn around and say 'what about these statues, they're Nubian princesses and slave girls and we have to get rid of them because of this' - this is just nonsensical".

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