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Cultural Vandalism in Ireland in the 1970s, machining away the Royal Insignia in Post Office Boxes at the Department of Post and Telegraphs, Engineering Workshops, Dublin.

A standing joke used to be that the only difference independence made to Ireland was the Post Boxes were painted green from red. Under the green paint lurked or still lurks the insignia of what ever British Monarch reigned, when the box was installed.

The decision to repaint the post boxes from red to green was taken by Cork T.D., the Post-Master General, James J. Walsh in February 1922.

In the 1970s boxes were returned to the engineering stores for maintenance. From time to time some operatives would spend quite a while, machining away all traces of the Old Conqueror. It is not likely that this would have been approved at a senior level but at some stage lower down a blind eye was turned.

Around the country some of these boxes can be seen without the insignia.

The enclosed photos are of the box at Pottery Road in Dun Laoghaire which may be one of them.

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In terms of cultural vandalism the Irish must be leading contenders for one of the major prizes, the blowing up of the Public Records Office in 1922 and the ESB’s destruction of the Georgian Mile in the 1960s Dublin. Ad to this the burning of Landlord Houses in 1918-1922 with their contents.  In a small way these removals of Royal Insignia indicated a mindset which follows the lead of the Islamic extremists in their destruction of Christian monuments and the list can go on.

There may be a case at this stage for highlighting the insignia on the boxes in a different paint as an example of street furniture, a legacy of the past and for aesthetics.