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Man arrested after Luke statue vandalised again

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Statue was daubed with paint

Statue was daubed with paint

Statue was daubed with paint

A man in his 40s has been arrested after an €80,000 statue of late singer Luke Kelly was defaced for the seventh time in 19 months.

Blue paint was sprayed over the Vera Klute-designed sculpture, which was publicly funded, on Sunday evening.

Gardai investigating criminal damage said last night they had arrested and charged the man, who is due to appear in court this morning.

The sculpture was unveiled by President Michael D Higgins in January last year.

It is close to Kelly's childhood home at the corner of Guild Street and Sheriff Street at the mouth of the Royal Canal.

The North Wall Community Association condemned the latest attack and called for spiked railings to be placed around the statue.

It was erected after a 15-year campaign by Kelly's friend, Independent councillor Christy Burke, to officially mark the memory of the former member of The Dubliners.

Dublin City Council officials said they were considering the removal of the statue.

"Removal temporarily or permanently of the statue or finding an alternative site cannot be ruled out," a spokesperson said.

"Dublin City Council notes with great disappointment the repeated vandalism of the Luke Kelly statue at Sheriff Street.

"The council is aware prosecutions for previous vandalism of this work are in train.

"Although aware of the high regard for the artwork locally, serious consideration will be given in light of the most recent attack to alternative ways of protecting this important work."

Family

Kelly's family will be consulted about the statue's future.

The artwork was unveiled on the 35th anniversary of the singer's death on January 30, 1984.

The council confirmed that the statue has now been cleaned, but that the costs for this have now passed €3,000.

Local politicians are not commenting publicly on the latest incident.

However, one councillor said: "We are no longer going to feed the individual or individual's desire for publicity over the paint attacks.

"These attacks are a slap in the face for members of the late singer's family."

A source added: "Officials, once and for all, have to be guided by the family's wishes on whether the statue should stay where it is, levels of protection involved if that is the decision or whether it should be moved."

Last month, a second, privately funded Kelly statue, on South King Street, was vandalised with white paint.