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Stephens green park

'A juvenile act': World War I sculpture cleaned up after being vandalised with paint overnight

“I’d be very sad about it, and the ignorance of people,” one passer-by said.

LAST UPDATE | 22 Nov 2018 / YouTube

THE HAUNTINGS SOLDIER sculpture in Stephen’s Green has been cleaned up after it was vandalised with red paint last night. 

The statue, made of pieces of scrap metal, was erected to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War I.

It’s been at the main entrance to the iconic Dublin city park since 4 November, and will be there until next Monday, 26 November.

Gardaí told earlier today that they were investigating criminal damage to a statue in the St Stephen’s Green area at around 2am.

Image from iOS (2) Aoife Barry Aoife Barry

No arrests have been made at this stage and a scene is currently in place at the statue.

OPW staff earlier completed the clean-up of the sculpture. 

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said that the sculpture honours those that suffered in World War I, and has been “incredibly moving and has been proved immensely popular”.

There is no bravery in throwing paint at a statute in the middle of the night.

Speaking to this evening, she added: “I think it was a really juvenile act. It was a profane desecration of a really symbolic symbol of all the people who died during the first World War, whether they’re English or Irish. 
It has been cleaned up now, the paint had been taken off. It’s going to be there until 26 November, it shouldn’t detract us from what we want to do in this space in terms of reconciliation and peacemaking. 
“We saw that on the back of the 2016 commemorations and we want to ensure that’s followed on, so we can’t let a minority dictate what the majority want to do.” 

Patricia Walsh, a park visitor, said that there should have been temporary cameras put up when the statue was erected.

“[When I saw it] I was quite annoyed and despairing about the people who did it,” she said, adding that she had a grand uncle who died in the First World War.

“I’d be very sad about it, and the ignorance of people.”

Sabina Purcell, who brought the sculpture to Ireland, told that “it doesn’t reflect us as an island. We’ve moved on from this”.

“I was absolutely devastated because there’s tremendous good will. Thousands of thousands have seen this every weekend coming from all over the island of Ireland 

Whoever did this, they’re not us. Dissenting voices are welcome but vandalism is just disgraceful.

She said that the poster is “totally gone” and the black wreaths laid at it are damaged as well. “It’s disgraceful – it’s meant to go back on the 26 November.”

- with reporting from Aoife Barry, Christina Finn and Hayley Halpin

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