Statue of IRA leader Sean Russell vandalised as LGBT flag is painted on by Dublin protesters

Statue of IRA leader Sean Russell vandalised as LGBT flag is painted on by Dublin protesters

DUBLIN protesters have vandalised a statue of former IRA leader Sean Russell by painting an LGBT flag on it to mark the final week of pride month.

Images of the statue in Fairview Park, Dublin emerged on social media on Tuesday morning with the graffiti of the pride flag marked across its front.

The colours on the flag included black and brown which shows solidarity with members of the LGBT community who also fight against racial inequality.

It's thought that the protesters had taken issue with Russell's alleged history as a Nazi sympathiser.

Russell was an Irish republican who held senior positions in the IRA until the end of the Irish War of Independence, but his legacy has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.

Members of Ógra Shinn Féin, who came to clean the statue, claim however that those responsible for the painting were wrong to target the monument, suggesting that the vandals "educate themselves".

Credit: @hermannkelly Twitter

One of the cleaners, Ciarán, told the Irish Mirror: "I suppose it was an act of vandalism but it was done out of a few misconceptions that people have about Sean Russell and my encouragement for the people who did this is to educate themselves a little bit about the history of Sean Russell and the true history of what happened rather than this alternative story that has taken place over the last couple of weeks.

"We're in the context of things that are happening over in the US and England with regards statues and a lot of Irish people get trapped in the mindset where they feel like we have to copy what's going on in these countries.

"Now, obviously the statues that are in question in America and in England are slaveholders, slave traders, Confederate generals, this type of thing and Sean Russell was in the total opposite camp of that spirit.

"Sean Russell was an anti-imperialist fighter, he was a fighter for freedom, not against freedom as these statues in America have been, so I would just encourage people to read up on his history and Irish history in general."

Russell died while on board a German U-Boat in 1940 while travelling to retrieve arms from Nazi Germany.

The IRA chief has been branded a Nazi sympathiser after spending time in Germany during World War II, but those who defend Russell claim he was in fact an anti-fascist and that he was simply seizing an opportunity.