Cobh Tidy Towns has launched a ‘Bring Back Our Bird’ appeal after part of a newly-unveiled metal sculpture was stolen from a roundabout this week.
The committee, which commissioned artist Emma Jane Rushworth to create the wire sculpture at the Velvet House Cross roundabout, described the news that one of two herons had been cut down and stolen as “devastating”.
The public artwork, supported by Cork County Council and Pobal, was only unveiled a week ago.
Chairman of Cobh Tidy Towns Committee, Hendrick Verwey, told RTÉ Radio yesterday morning that the “magnificent piece of public art” was inspired by Cuskinny marsh nature reserve and that he hopes they can get the heron back.
“It's a bit devastating, to be honest, after a lot of effort, a lot of planning over the years," he told the Morning Ireland programme.
A hacksaw may have been used, he said, but it would have been difficult to transport the metal heron with four-feet-wide wings.
“Somebody was obviously quite daring as well, because it's quite a visible place, so [it was] somebody who really didn't care and was willing to take their chances," said Mr Verwey.
The “distinctive” metal piece, he added, would not have any resale value.
“There's only seven of them in the country, and now one of them is missing somewhere," he said.
"So if somebody sees this they'll know something is not right. The resale value is quite small, but the replacement value is quite large to us.
"And the scrap value is absolutely zero, because it's just pieces of wire intricately wound together."
Fine Gael councillor Sinead Sheppard said the theft of the heron has “ruined” the new piece of public art and is a "massive blow" to the town and its Tidy Towns committee.
Years of planning,fundraising, community and finally joy in the faces of many with the installation of the beautiful wildlife scene all attacked with the theft of one of our herons last night! Share far and wide and report any sighting of this distinctive sculpture to gardai. pic.twitter.com/lO8uAjco9M— Cobh Tidy Towns🌻 (@CobhTidy) July 23, 2020
“It's disgusting that somebody would even contemplate doing something like that," she said.
“This has come at a significant cost to [Cobh's] Tidy Towns. There is a massive amount of work that goes into applying for grants and fundraising to do all of this and what Tidy Towns gives to any town, you can't put a figure on their work.”
Gardaí in Cobh are investigating the theft and are appealing for witnesses.
Anyone with information can contact Gardaí on 021-4908530.