Locked up artist has the last laugh

Artist Ramie Leahy whose work hangs in Kilkenny Garda Station.

Artist Ramie Leahy whose work hangs in Kilkenny Garda Station.

I loved the story from Kilkenny last week about the local artist who had the last laugh in a parking fine row.

Mr Ramie Leahy, described as the most famous and best recognised living artist in the county, was locked up by Gardai for a short period in August under controversial circumstances.

Apparently, the situation began in 2011 when Mr Leahy, who lives in Thomastown, sent off a cheque for €290 to pay for a parking fine.  However, because the fine was actually €270 the cheque was not cashed as Mr Leahy had sent €20 too much. The case then moved through the system and, eventually, a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest because of non payment of the fine.

Fast forward two years to August of this year when Mr Leahy set up a pop-up art-gallery in the city’s Rose Inn Street as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

A Garda, who was aware of the bench warrant, recognised Mr Leahy and arrested him.  The artist spent some hours behind bars before he was released.

The reason the artist has had the last laugh is because sometime after his incarceration, The Office of Public Works purchased one of his paintings to hang in the refurbished Kilkenny Garda Station, the very place he was taken after his arrest.

The OPW paid €3000 for the canvas which is entitled ‘Going Home From School’ and shows a scene from Kilkenny’s Maudlin Street.

There was further good new for Mr Leahy when he was informed by the State that, following his imprisonment, the parking fine of €270 had been written off.

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