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Extra charge brought against man accused of carrying out attacks on Luke Kelly statues

Erik G

AN EXTRA CHARGE has been brought against a 47-year-old man accused of carrying out graffiti attacks on Luke Kelly statues in Dublin.

Michael Dunne, with an address at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, was arrested on Tuesday by gardaí investigating paint damage to the statue of the singer near St Stephen’s Green.

He appeared at Dublin District Court today charged with criminal damage to the Luke Kelly sculpture on South King Street, Dublin 2, on 23 June last.

Pearse Street station Garda Sean Scully said Dunne made no reply when charged.

He objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case.

He said in recent days gardaí obtained CCTV evidence. There was 19 clips allegedly showing the accused cycling from Sheriff Street on the north-side, crossing the Samuel Beckett Bridge, and heading to South King Street.

It was alleged he “threw a large amount of paint over the statue”. There was video evidence of him returning to his apartment building. He told the court Dunne has already been charged with paint damage to the singer’s statue at Guild Street in the city’s north side earlier this month.

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.

Dunne told the court he would abide by bail terms and he agreed that he denies the allegations, “most certainly, most certainly”.

His solicitor asked the judge to “separate the apparent notoriety of this incident in considering bail”. There was an equal chance the case could remain in the district court, she submitted.

Judge Paula Murphy held that the points for refusing bail were not strong enough and garda concerns could be addressed with strict conditions.

Dunne was remanded on bail in his own bond of €300 but did not have to lodge cash after the judge noted he was on social welfare and living in supported accommodation.

Judge Murphy ordered him to obey a 10pm to 6am curfew, to sign on daily at Store Street Garda station, stay away from Sheriff Street as well as the two national monuments of Luke Kelly at Guild Street and at South King Street, near St Stephen’s Green.

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

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He was also ordered to remain sober and was warned gardaí were at liberty to re-enter the case if there was an allegation he breached the terms. His solicitor said she would remind her client of that.

He was ordered to appear again on 8 September next for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to his trial venue.

Judge Paula Murphy noted he was already due to to appear on that date in relation to his other charge for graffiti damage to the Luke Kelly statue at Guild Street in the city’s north side on 12 July last.

Dunne disputes the garda evidence in that case.

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.

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