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29th Jul 2020

The Shelbourne Hotel has removed four statues due to links with slavery

James Fenton

The Shelbourne Hotel has removed four statues from its exterior due to links with slavery.

The four statues have stood outside the Shelbourne Hotel on St. Stephen’s Green for 153 years but they were removed on Monday “given what has been happening in the world” in recent times. The sculptures depicted two princesses from Nubia, a region along the Nile, and their slave girls holding torches aloft.

The Irish Times quotes the Shelbourne’s General Manager JP Kavanagh as saying “It was a decision taken just by us with our owner and operator. This decision has been coming for a number of weeks given what has been happening in the world. When we restored the facade in 2015 and 2016, we consulted with Irish Heritage and the Irish Georgian Society.”

The Irish Georgian Society has stated that they have not been consulted about this week’s removal of the statues and that they have ‘contacted Dublin City Council Planning urging them to address the matter.’

The removal of statues with links to slavery has gathered pace around the world this summer due to the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement. In June, a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by protesters and thrown into Bristol Harbour in the UK.

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