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Controversial statue unveiled in Ballymun

Locals argue about whether the statue provokes a discussion about stereotypes – or simply reinforces them.

A CONTROVERSIAL BRONZE statue of a girl dressed in a tracksuit sitting on a horse has been unveiled in Ballymun.

The monument was commissioned as part of the Ballymun Regeneration Project and used a local girl as the model.

However, some locals have complained about the 16-foot statue, saying that it reinforces negative stereotypes.

It was planned to be installed on the Main Street, but plans to construct Metro North means the area will not be ready for at least five years, RTÉ reports.

It has been placed temporarily outside a secondary school, Trinity Comprehensive, while residents debate on a solution.

17-year-old Toni Marie Shields was asked to model for a statue three years ago; it was to be the centrepiece of a regenerated Ballymun.

Labour Councillor John Lyons has opposed the statue’s relocation to the Main Street because he believes it invokes a stereotype of people who live in Ballymun, and adds that it represents the “old” Ballymun rather than the new one.

The Director of the Axis Arts Centre, which commissioned the piece, says it that the state is not a representation of the local people, but a focal point that is hoped to draw discussion and debate.

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