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Charge dropped against man accused of vandalising Luke Kelly statue

Michael Dunne was accused of criminal damage to the Luke Kelly statue on South King Street

The Luke Kelly statue on King Street
The Luke Kelly statue on King Street
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE DIRECTOR OF Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dropped a charge against a 48-year-old man accused of a graffiti attack on a Luke Kelly statue in Dublin.

Michael Dunne, with an address at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, was accused of criminal damage to the Luke Kelly statue, on South King Street, in the city’s south side on June 23, 2020.

The sculpture – a bronze statue by sculptor John Coll – was unveiled in 2019.

The case was listed again at Dublin District Court today for progress to be made, but Mr Dunne did not have to attend.

Last month, the court heard that a direction from the DPP was received but the investigating garda was appealing that direction.

Judge Miriam Walsh was told today the DPP has directed that the matter was to be withdrawn, and the case was dropped.

At an earlier hearing, Garda Sean Scully said CCTV evidence was obtained. There was 19 clips showing a cyclist crossing the city from Sheriff Street, over the Samuel Beckett Bridge and heading to South King Street, the court had heard.

It was alleged the cyclist “threw a large amount of paint over the statue”.

Defence solicitor Jenny McGeever put it to him that her client did not have a bike. The garda answered that it had not yet been recovered.

Mr Dunne had told the court he would abide by bail terms and that he denied the allegations, “most certainly, most certainly”.

He remains before the court, however, on another charge for damaging the Luke Kelly statue at Guild Street in the city’s north side with graffiti on July 12 last.

Mr Dunne disputes the garda evidence in that prosecution as well.

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That 1.8m-high marble statue, with copper wire used for The Dubliners singer’s distinctive beard and hair, was unveiled in January 2019 to mark the 35th anniversary of his death, in an area close to where the musician grew up.

Mr Dunne has been ordered to remain sober and obey a 10pm to 6am curfew, sign on daily at Store Street Garda station, stay away from Sheriff Street as well as the two monuments of Luke Kelly in the city.

He had to provide gardai with a contact phone number and be available to answer it at all times.

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