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Nelson's Pillar: Man recalls blowing up iconic Dublin statue

A man who claims he was involved in blowing up Nelson's Pillar in Dublin has been speaking on the 50th anniversary of the bombing.

Nelson's Pillar was erected in O'Connell Street in the Irish capital in 1809 to honour the exploits of the British naval hero Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson who was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The 134ft high monument became an integral part of the city but was seen as controversial by many especially after Ireland won its independence.

Up until 1966, the pillar had survived rebellions, wars and the 1916 Rising.

Liam Sutcliffe, 83, told RTÉ that he had slept through the blast, which went off by timer in the early hours, only finding out that Nelson was gone when he was on his way to work.

"l left the house to go to work and this woman met me at the bus stop and she said. 'Ah morning, did you hear about poor old Nelson? He's gone, someone blew him up last night.'

"She said to me, 'I hope you had nothing to do with it now' and I said 'no'.

"She laughed and off I went."

The blast on 8 March damaged the statue and blew off Nelson's head.

A week later the remainder of the pillar was blown up by the Irish army.

The police investigation that followed never found those responsible.

Mr Sutcliffe was questioned and released without charge 16 years ago in connection with the bombing.

He said he had met one of the men arrested in the aftermath of the bomb.

"Recently I met a guy who was picked up and he informed me, 'it was great...because everybody thought I blew it up' and he says, 'I haven't had to buy a pint for years. Every time I go into a pub someone sends me up a pint'," Mr Sutcliffe said.

Although Nelson's head was blown off in the blast, it remained intact and now sits in the city library and archive in Dublin.

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