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Council asks sculptor for advice after thugs set Tree of Life on fire

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An attempt was made to set fire to The Tree Of Life sculpture

An attempt was made to set fire to The Tree Of Life sculpture

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

An attempt was made to set fire to The Tree Of Life sculpture

Dublin City Council is consulting with sculptor Tommy Craggs about how his work The Tree Of Life can be restored after it was damaged in an arson attack.

Gardai are investigating after the incident in the early hours of Monday in St Anne's Park, where an attempt was made to set fire to the 200-year-old Monterey cypress tree.

In an act that was widely condemned, the vandals managed to blacken part of the 10-metre high structure and inflict serious damaging using an accelerant.

Solutions

Gardai say their inquiries into the act of vandalism are ongoing and it is being treated as an incident of criminal damage.

There are hopes that the sculpture may be restored by the original artist, who spent nearly three years creating it from his own original design.

"Dublin City Council (DCC) is in communication with the sculptor Tommy Craggs and under his advice we are investigating the extent of the damage and solutions to its restoration," said a DCC spokesperson.

The erection of CCTV at the site is not being considered, she added.

The artist has indicated that it could be repaired by sanding down the worst of the damage.

The incident dismayed local residents when they saw what had happened on Monday.

DCC learned that the tree was dying in 2014 but rather than remove it, the council commissioned Mr Craggs to create a unique and innovative piece of tree art out of it.

The project took him nearly three years to complete and it was all his own design, creating a variety of marine creatures and wildlife in a nod to the biodiversity that exists in the nearby Bull Island.

Dublin Lord Mayor Tom Brazabon spoke of his sadness at what happened.

"This is a beautiful sculpture enjoyed by adults and children alike, and I want to condemn this wanton act of vandalism in the strongest possible terms," he said.

"It's so sad to see something like this happen. I would appeal to anyone with any information to contact the gardai."