A mural of the controversial Púca sculpture that has appeared in Ennistymon in the past week has been described as “ill-timed” and “disrespectful” by the sculptor of the statue.
Discussion on the Púca was reignited over the last week when a mural painted by local artist Johnny O’Gorman appeared on the side of Unglert’s Bakery in close proximity to the notorious Blake’s Corner in Ennistymon.
O’Gorman was asked by Stephan Unglert of Unglert’s Bakery to paint the mural, the artist pledged that there is more to come and hoped to be completed by Culture Night (Tuesday September 21st).
Living in Ennistymon since 2015, Johnny said he had no interest in the Púca. “An artist doesn’t ask permission to paint something before he paints it. There was a mural there before. It is a great wall for a mural. Thousands of tourists come into the town every year. People can think what they want, it is done now, and is part of an overall image. It is not all about the Púca. I have no interest in the statue, it has nothing to do with me. What happens with the statute is of no material importance to me. Personally, I think it should be placed where people can appreciate it”.
In May, plans to erect the public statue were paused by Clare County Council following a backlash locally. Comedian Dara Ó Briaín, actor Chris O’Dowd and MEP Mick Wallace were among the high-profile supporters of the Púca which has an estimated cost of €30,000.
Clare County Council have confirmed that its planning department is aware of the mural “and is currently reviewing its planning status”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Aidan Harte who created the design for the Púca confirmed that the mural was painted without his knowledge or permission. “The púca controversy has, as you know, already inspired songs, fiction, memes and academic interest as well as commentary from everyone from Mick Wallace to Mary Kenny – but this mural is simply an opportunistic provocation, designed to get a rise out of people. With the long-delayed public consultation beginning this month, its appearance is particularly ill-timed,” he said.
“I have written to Mr Unglert, the bakery’s owner, pointing out that the mural’s central figure is clearly a copy of my sculpture. The infringement of my copyright may be an innocent mistake on his part, I don’t know. I do know that disrespectful stunts like this make finding a sensible compromise harder,” Aidan added.