Wednesday 26 October 2016

Alfie Byrne memorial bench to be removed after being targeted by vandals

alfie byrne bench
alfie byrne bench

An ornate memorial bench dedicated to Dublin's most famous Lord Mayor Alfie Byrne is to be removed after years of neglect.

The curved oak 'thrones' that face the sea at the corner of Alfie Byrne Road and the Clontarf promenade were first put in place in 1999 to commemorate the docker's son who served as mayor no less than 10 times, including nine consecutive years from 1930 to 1939.

The structure was created by artist Andrew St Ledger who also made the figurehead for the Jeanie Johnston replica Famine ship.

Over the years the wood fell foul of vandalism and the weather and was painted over by Dublin City Council.

In 2013 it was deemed to be beyond repair but the bench was given a last minute reprieve after the artist, and some members of the public and local councillors, expressed an interest in renovating and preserving it.

Public art manager Ruairi O Cuiv said different options were looked at in regard to restoring the bench or moving it to a different location, but it has now been determined that taking it away is the only practical solution.

The council had obtained a quote of €18,000 from Andrew St Ledger for the restoration work, but Mr O Cuiv said while this was not excessive, the continuous maintenance costs could be a difficulty, especially if the memorial continued to face the same battering from salty water.

Moving it to a different location also didn't seem practical considering the bench was placed on the road also named after Byrne, so it would seem out of place elsewhere.

The wood has now been removed and is in storage.

City councillors will be asked to ratify the decision to remove the bench permanently next month.

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