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Monday 20 November 2017

Council breaks own rule to have two Luke Kelly statues in the city

Luke Kelly statue
Luke Kelly statue

The capital is set to honour legendary Dubliners singer Luke Kelly with not one but two statues, one on each side of the city.

An exception to have two statues was made by the city council after the Kelly family expressed their unhappiness with an original modern design commissioned by the authority.

Under Dublin City Council's commemorative naming policy, an individual should only be commemorated with one monument.

The first is due to be installed at Luke Kelly Park in the north inner city, where Kelly grew up, while the other has not yet been given a location.

Areas around Baggot Street and even Raglan Road - in tribute to Kelly's version of the ballad - have been mooted.

The monument designed by artist Vera Klute was initially commissioned by the city council in 2014, spearheaded by then Lord Mayor Christy Burke.

It proposed a 1.8-metre-high bust, with copper wire used for Kelly's trademark beard.

The second statue was offered as a donation by private individual Gerry Hunt a year later. He had personally commissioned a statue of Kelly by artist John Coll.

The statue is of the musician seated and playing the banjo.

Happy

Mr Hunt is not understood to have a specific location in mind, but would prefer it to be positioned somewhere on the southside.

A 45cm-high plinth is necessary to support the statue, though this cannot be designed until a location is secured.

Following consultations with the Kelly family in May, council officials were told that they would now be happy for both statues to be placed in the city centre, but that they would like the issue to be settled as soon as possible.

City Arts Officer Ray Yeates said the commissioning of the bust in the north inner city should begin as soon as approved by the council.

"The process of fabricating the sculpture offers great possibility for engagement with the local community and, in particular, young people and children," said Mr Yeates.

Mr Yeates also suggested the possibility of a Kelly-inspired documentary in the area.

"This engagement would heighten knowledge of Luke Kelly and his music as well as visual art processes in the local area of Sheriff Street," he said.

He added that the Kelly family would preferably like the second statue to be loc- ated in an area of the city with which Kelly is most associated.

Following the debacle, which led to the Kelly family initially taking issue with the original bust, the city council says it will be endeavouring to con- sult with relatives of those being commemorated in future.

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