Dublin City Council is reviewing how best to protect a statue of the late musician Luke Kelly, which has been defaced for the fourth time in the past year.

The council has said that it is considering all options to protect the statue from vandalism - including moving it.

Last night, the statue was sprayed with red paint in the shape of glasses. The paint was also dubbed into the hair of the statue.

The statue was designed by artist Vera Klute and is one of two placed in Dublin just over a year ago.

Last month, the statue was covered with black paint, around its eyes and the remainder of the face.

In a statement, Dublin City Council said that once it became aware of the damage it contacted the professional cleaners involved in previous clean-ups

The council said it "contacted P MAC Cleaning and Restoration services on Sunday night as soon as they became aware of the vandalism. 

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And now the clean-up job is complete. 

Former Dublin Lord Mayor and Independent councillor for Dublin Central, Christy Burke lives close by and said the vandalism is "gone beyond a joke".

He said: "I hope the family ask to have the statue moved. I'm fearful that the next thing that will happen is that the statue will be smashed.

"It's just terrible to think that Luke, who was a man of the people, is having a fitting tribute to him wrecked in such a vile way. Luke deserves to be left alone.

"The person or persons who are carrying out this heinous act don't seem to realise or care about the upset this is causing to his family and locals here for that matter, how much it is costing to have it cleaned up because of this.

"It's costing the taxpayer in the long run who is having to fork out for these mindless acts of vandalism every time Dublin City Council have to bring in a specialised cleaning company.

"I just can't come to terms with the fact that in the middle of a national emergency because the Covid-19 pandemic people would want to do a thing like this - it's beyond comprehension."

Officers are examining CCTV images from cameras located near the Luke Kelly Park, which is close to where the Dubliners singer grew up on Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city.

It is understood gardaí are following a definite line of inquiry.

The statue was unveiled on the 35th anniversary of the singer's death by President Michael D Higgins in January last year.

The work was commissioned by Dublin City Council in 2014 when Cllr Burke was elected as Mayor.

The statue is a 1.8-metre-high marble bust, with copper wire used for Kelly's trademark beard.