A mural of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Co. Clare has been removed after U.S. tourists complained.
American tourists reportedly left the seaside town of Kilkee after they saw the mural, the Irish Independent reports.
Che Guevara and his entourage were on their way from Prague to Havana and were fog bound en-route through Shannon Airport. They ended up staying in Kilkee overnight on 12 September, 1961 in the Strand Hotel in the town.
The black and white mural was painted over by a local authority in the lead up to a local Latin-American cultural festival in Kilkee, Co Clare, which celebrates links with Guevara.
Festival organizers were told last week that the mural would have to be removed from the West Clare seaside resort. The face of the Guevara adorned the same spot for the previous two Che do Bheatha festivals.
The image was created by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick after he met Guevara in the Marine Hotel in Kilkee during his visit.
Clare County Council staff removed the 20ft high mural earlier this week, despite an agreement at a town council meeting that the mural should remain until after the festival.
Kilkee Chamber of Commerce president Johnny Redmond criticized Clare County Council’s decision to remove what he described as a “harmless mural.”
"The festival is not political. It is a festival of Latin-American culture but once again Clare Co Council is shooting itself in the foot.
"This at a time when the council says it has no money to kill the weeds that are growing up through the footpath on the promenade but has time and funds to waste on removing an internationally recognized image in the year of the Gathering with Irish-Argentinians coming to Kilkee for the festival,” Redmond added.
Mayor of Kilkee Cllr Paddy Collins said: "There was much discussion about this and it was agreed in the end that the mural could stay but must not be altered and should be removed the day after the festival finishes.
"The mural has since been removed by Clare County Council and while I had hoped this was as a result of a breakdown in communication rather than the council being heavy-handed, now that it is gone, I would prefer not to see it replaced."
In a joint statement, Clare County Council said: "At Monday night’s monthly meeting of Kilkee Town Council, elected members unanimously agreed that the erection of the mural in question was in clear breach of S19 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997. Councillors proposed, however, that the mural be retained until after the upcoming festival.
"This sentiment was relayed by the town clerk, who himself does not have the authority to enforce such a proposal, to the Planning Authority, ie Clare County Council. Clare County Council had scheduled the removal of the mural for Tuesday morning. This went ahead as scheduled as the mural in question was in breach of local government legislation."