Gardaí are investigating reports that a number of Queen Victoria-related street name signs in Cork city have been vandalised - again.
A criminal damage probe is expected to be launched after the word ‘Victoria’ on two signs on Victoria Road close to the city centre was covered by black paint.
It’s believed that the signs - one opposite the street's junction with Monahan Road and Centre Park Road, and the other at the Blackrock end of the street - were damaged early last week, possibly on Tuesday night.
Graffiti in black paint targeting Taoiseach Micheál Martin also appeared around the same time on the wall of a docklands mill nearby. It is not clear yet if the paint attack on the signs and the graffiti incident are linked.
Residents living on Victoria Road said they have reported street signs paint attacks to gardaí.
A spokeperson for Cork City Council said it is aware of both issues and will take steps to address the damage.
It is not the first time that streets signs associated with Queen Victoria in Cork city have been vandalised.
In February 2017, the word Victoria was blacked out on five street signs in three separate locations - on Victoria Road, at Victoria Cross and at Victoria Street, off Military Hill.
It followed an unsuccessful effort some months earlier by a group called the Cork Street Names Campaign to rename, after Irish heroes, several streets in Cork they said commemorate British “aristocrats and war criminals”.
The group said at the time that it had prepared a ‘comprehensive proposal’ to rename some 100 street and place names in the city with British links and they said they had asked for a meeting with the then Lord Mayor to consider their proposal. No such meeting was granted.
The group went on some weeks later to criticise the branding of MacCurtain Street as the Victorian Quarter.
Days later, the Victoria street signs were daubed with black paint. Members of the group described the naming of streets after Queen Victoria as an insult to the dignity of the famine victims.
Following an extensive garda investigation, three people were subsequently charged with criminal damage in relation to the incidents.
One individual faces five counts of criminal damage at three separate locations. Two others face similar charges.
Their cases are still before courts after one of the accused asked for his case to be heard by a judge fluent in Irish. His co-accused want their cases heard in English.
The matter was listed to be heard in May but proceedings have been further delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.