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Republic of Ireland news

Waxwork of Pope Saint John Paul II removed after being damaged at Dublin museum

The sculptor is considering whether to create a new head for the waxwork of the former pontiff. Picture by The National Wax Museum Plus
John Monaghan

A WAXWORK of Pope Saint John Paul II has been removed from a museum in Dublin and sent for repairs after being severely damaged.

The National Wax Museum Plus said it was unclear whether "foul play" was involved or not.

The museum said it removed the waxwork of the former pontiff, who died in 2005 after almost three decades at the head of the Catholic Church, after discovering it damaged during the Bank Holiday weekend in early August.

Laoise Keaveney, the museum's marketing manager, said: "One of our floor staff was doing the rounds when he entered the Father Ted Room and found the body strewn on the chair and his head lying on the floor.

"Initially we suspected it was a targeted attack on this particular waxwork, I personally have found chewing gum stuck on his head and removed it earlier this year. But we don't know if it was foul play or not."

Ms Keaveney added: "There's no point crying over a split Pope and we don't want to take it too seriously but we'd really like the public to keep having fun with us but be a tad bit more careful."

According to the museum, repairs to the waxwork could take up to four months and cost around €5,000.

Damage was caused to both sides of the face and the waxwork has been sent back to the sculptor, who is considering whether to start from scratch on designing a new head.

Ms Keaveney said: "There's a scratch on one side of his face, which would be a relatively straightforward fix for our sculptor. However, the opposite side of his face is suffering some worse damage.

"The eye has come out of the socket and that side is a little squashed out of shape. But these things happen in our line of work. We hope to have him fixed and back on display really soon."

The museum said it had decided to go public to "clear up a number of issues" after visitors were left angered when they were not able to view the waxwork of the former Pope.

"We actually had a very irate review on Facebook giving us one star from that weekend because the visitor had seen the broken sculpture and assumed we had severely lowered our standards," said Ms Keaveney.

"We also have had a rather in depth Trip Advisor review asking where we had removed the Pope's waxwork, as they had travelled in to take a photo with it but were sorely disappointed with his omission."

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