herald

Thursday 30 March 2017

Artist floored by the theft of victorious McGregor print

The stolen print
The stolen print

An artist has been left reeling after a print of one of his prized paintings was stolen from a city centre art gallery.

The print of UFC fighter Conor McGregor is based on an original by Niall O'Loughlin.

It was taken from the Balla Ban Art Gallery in the Westbury Mall near Grafton Street on Sunday.

The painting is understood to have been seen on a bus from the city centre to Santry on Sunday evening.

The print shows McGregor after his victory over Chad Mendes in Las Vegas in July last year.

A frustrated Mr O'Loughlin tweeted: "Would love to catch the f**k@r who stole my Conor McGregor from the BallaBanArtGallery. If u saw anything let me know."

The artist, who is based in Dunboyne, Co Meath, and is well known for his caricatures, said he believes Christmas shoppers may have witnessed the theft.

Relieved

"I just got a call from the gallery to say [the person who worked there] turned his back to chat to someone and when he looked back, it was gone.

"It is not a small painting, so surely somebody saw the person with it."

Mr O'Loughlin said he was ''annoyed but relieved" it was not the orginal.

"It took three-and-a-half months to paint, with the tattoo taking a good proportion of that."

The artist said he did not hold out much hope of getting back the print, which is worth about €300.

He has been offered €7,000 for the original but turned it down.

"I would like to hang on to it, unless, of course, Conor himself came looking for it."

Gallery owner Frank O'Dea told the Herald: "The thieves struck when I was with another customer. I just turned my back for two minutes and the print was gone. It is huge. It is not the sort of thing you can hide in your bag."

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