In October 2012 I put in a question to the City Manager in relation to a statue by James Gandon that had been knocked over by a Film Unit truck in Kings Inn, Dublin. The statue, known as Truth (or ‘Henrietta’ locally) was left in the car park for over a year without protection except a bit of sacking. In April 2013, again after many concerned locals asked about the protection of the statue, I again raised the issue with the City Council. This statue formed part of the Four Courts prior to the Civil war. After the shelling of the Four Courts there was not a scratch on this sculpture. It was removed to the Kings Inns for safe keeping and good custody where it was more or less destroyed by wrecklessness and lack of due care. Not only from the driver of the truck (who reversed into her) but from all of those who are charged with its safe keeping. If those who are charged with the protection of our heritage fail at this level, God only knows what the future holds.
Henrietta Street is almost now an extension of a Film studios. The impact of these trucks on this delicate area and the residents who live there needs to be addressed and we need far more transparency and accountability as to what is exactly happening to this sculpture (Truth) which was recently removed for supposed repairs. Also, a date when it will be returned to its rightful place.
We certainly don’t want the kind of vandalism thats been shown by their most recent installation and its new unsightly plinth.
October 2012 Questions to the City Manager:
Can the City Manager issue a report with regard to damage caused to a protected structure, an 18th century statue, at the Kings Inn in Henrietta Street Dublin on 4/5th April, 2012. This damage would appear to have been caused while filming was taking place in this locality which is a heritage site and a protected structure. It would appear a film truck backed into the plinth, toppling the statue to the ground. This protected heritage item has been removed and its whereabouts is unknown. The use of dwellings and listed buildings on Henrietta St has led to a careless disregard for these masterpieces of 18th century architecture. Not withstanding the enormous disruption and inconvenience caused to residents by the constant use of this area as a film location, both day and night. It would appear that no permission for change of use from dwelling to studio was sought by the owners of these properties. It is the responsibility of the City Council to protect these structures and insist on compliance with the principles of care for listed buildings.
April 2013 Questions to the City Manager:
Question to City ManagerCity Council Meeting 04/02/2013
Q72.COUNCILLOR MANNIX FLYNN
Can the City Manager supply an updated report on what action has been taken in relation to the damaged ‘Gandon’ Statue at Henrietta St/Kings Inn which was damaged recently by being knocked over by a truck that was associated with the film unit engaged in filming in this location. This report to include assessment of damage to the statue, proposed repair works, who is liable and responsible for the damage and the cost of repair and who will pay. Also what steps have been taken to manage traffic and vehicle transport in this location with regards to filming and what safety measures have been initiated in order to protect similar objects and the protected structures.
CITY MANAGERS REPLY
“Truth” commonly known as Henrietta, was accidentally knocked off her pedestal in April 2012 by a film truck. Immediately advice was sought from the Society’s Architect, stone and monumental sculpture conservators and from two well respected Architectural Historians (one gave advice on the author of the sculpture (believed not to be any person of significance)), the second gave advice on reinstatement, location, and possible alternative solutions. All the fragments of Henrietta, including her head have been removed to a safe storage place in King’s Inns. The three main pieces have been moved to temporary safety and will be stored in a properly protected storage area within the King’s Inns building as soon as the budget will allow for the hire of a crane. To date, King’s Inns (a private unincorporated association of members) has incurred all the costs involved in the professional advices received. King’s Inns has a working party in place to oversee the replacement / reinstatement of the statue as soon as is feasible.
Following the accident (involving a film truck), the King’s Inns Health and Safety Adviser was asked to work on a plan for the occasional use of the grounds by delivery trucks, by film trucks (mainly static once they park in an assigned place) and other vehicular traffic. Advices are awaited. The cost of this advice will be borne in its entirety by King’s Inns.