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Stop groping the breasts on Molly Malone statue, Dublin tourists told

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In response, Dublin city council is considering ways to protect the statue, which is in a revealing 17th-century dress.

“We are going to consider what to do and report back to our elected representatives,” Ray Yeates, arts officer at the council, told The Telegraph.

“It may be that education may be the answer but we will also consider protecting the statue.”

Among the options which will be considered are fencing, using seating or plants to form a barrier or even moving it to another location, although the council is very reluctant to take that step with the popular attraction.

He said that maintaining access to the statue was important but that the constant touching of the statue did cause wear and tear, which cost money to repair.

“We want everyone to behave respectfully around the statue. We will have to take a balanced view,” he said.

Ms Cripwell pointed out that statues of men in Dublin were not manhandled in the same way as Molly’s prominent décolletage was every day.

“Where Molly Malone’s statue was created as a symbolic figure of pride and patriotism, it has become a landmark of objectification and mockery,” she said.

“The standard set is one where abusing women is normal, even traditional … I walk by the Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square every day. You don’t see people rubbing his crotch for good luck,” the Trinity student added.

The song Molly Malone, an unofficial anthem for the Irish capital, tells of a “sweet” street hawker selling cockles and mussels in Dublin who dies of a fever.

Such hawkers were often part-time prostitutes, but in some versions of the legend Molly is unusually chaste.

‘Seven years bad luck’

In the folk ballad, Molly’s ghost continues to “wheels her barrow, through streets broad and narrow, crying, ‘cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh’.”

The campaign comes after the busty statue of the fictional trader in Suffolk Street was vandalised last year.

“Please don’t” was written across its cleavage in September, and in another incident in August the words “seven years bad luck” were scrawled on the statue.

At the time, singer Imelda May, who has sung the folk song, called on tourists to stop groping the statue, which is a magnet for selfie-seeking tourists.

“Molly certainly represents real Irish women as we sing of her across the world. This working-class woman who simply worked hard and died unexpectedly from fever has made us Dublin women proud since childhood and I cannot tell you the rage I feel every time I see her being molested daily,” she said.

She added: “Women have been objectified forever and the only statue in Dublin with breasts is basically assaulted in front of our children’s eyes daily.What message does that give to the next generations?”

The statue, which was originally on Grafton Street, was unveiled in 1988 for the celebration of Dublin’s first millennium celebration.

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