A Dundalk councillor has said he is “mortified” after the town had to cover up its brand-new World War I memorial amid claims it was copied off a US artist.
Louth County Council has confirmed that it has “received correspondence regarding a potential copyright issue” over the new memorial outside Dundalk Garda Station.
The memorial was erected less than three weeks ago after years of effort from local groups looking to commemorate local people who died in the war.
Instead of being officially unveiled last Tuesday, it was covered up with blue tarpaulin in an apparent bid to avoid legal proceedings.
That came after a US sculptor claimed it was very similar to his work on a major new memorial due to be installed in Washington DC in 2024.
Louth County council said it is now “working constructively towards a satisfactory resolution with the artist on this matter”.
On Moncrieff this afternoon, Dundalk Councillor Tomás Sharkey called a for a full investigation into the matter.
“I am mortified as an elected representative,” he said.
“I am mortified that we made a brave decision to finally put up a monument for those people from the Dundalk area who died during the first word war - and that is not easy political decision to make for a Sinn Féin politician, but it was a decision that was made for all the right reasons.
“But now I’m mortified that we could make such a hames of it. There should be wigs on the green over this.”
Cllr Sharkey said the project was funded by the EU Peace Programme and was run by the council executive – noting that, “no elected rep had any hand in deciding on the design of this”.
He said most people in the area had expected a less militaristic monument – noting that people from Dundalk had fought in the war for a wide range of reasons, some of them nationalist and some of the unionist.
“The best thing was to have no military trappings on it,” he said. “It is very military
“When you are looking at this from the road, on your left-hand side, you have a soldier with his bayonet down.
“On the right-hand side, you have a soldier with his bayonet down and in the centre, you have a woman holding what I assume is her husband’s hand as he is going off to war. She is holding a baby and he is stepping into the scene of warfare.
“There is nothing as military as that.”