'unhenged' | 

Man who drove cement mixer into Leinster House to build second ‘Stonehenge’ in UK

Joe McNamara, known as the Anglo Avenger hit headlines in 2010 when he drove a cement lorry with the words “Anglo” and “toxic bank” at the gates of Leinster House

Joe McNamara© PA

The Achill 'Stonehenge'© PA

McNamara drove a cement mixer into Leinster House© PA

Sunday World

Developer Joe McNamara — once known as the Anglo Avenger after driving a concrete mixer truck at the gates of Leinster House — has built a second ‘Stonehenge’ in the UK.

His first attempt in his native Achill Island ended up in the High Court when he continued working on the circular edifice and spent a number of days in prison for contempt.

But now his plan to build a ‘henge’ has become a reality in Romford, north-east of London, and he intends to enter it into the prestigious Turner Prize art competition.

Dubbed ‘Unhenged’, the new version is located on land owned by Roscommon native Jim Beirne, who has lived in the UK for 50 years.

Jim said he has known the developer for a number of years since he expressed an interest in a field at Jim’s Navistock property.

“I got a call from him about eight or nine years ago and I spoke to him on the phone. I didn’t meet him until many years later. He’s been an acquaintance. “He turned up here one day about a year ago, outlined his plans, what he was looking for. Our place fitted the bill and we let him carry on,” said Jim.

The Achill 'Stonehenge'© PA

When things were ready, Joe McNamara moved in and swiftly built the new concrete circle in a matter of hours.

“It was done on the 18th of December last year. He had all the columns and the ring beams pre-cast off site. In the months before he had them all transported here,” said Jim.

“Then on the Saturday they started assembling it at about four in the afternoon and they worked all night and had it finished the next day at 12.

“I went to bed, I had field, and the next day I had a Stonehenge in my field.”

‘Unhenge’ had an official opening earlier this month and visitors are welcome to come and look at the massive circle.

“It’s a work of art. It looks well and I like it, he obviously likes it,” said Jim.

“He is going to enter it for the Turner Prize. People doing concrete art have won it in the past.”

Rachael Whiteread’s controversial concrete cast of a house from the inside divided critics but won the prize in 1993.

“I think Joe considers himself an artist and this is his work. He was never let finish, he was stopped before he got the one in Achill finished. He wasn’t happy that he never got to finish it. There’s been a good few [visitors],” said Jim.

He said there is a head druid who has been talking to Joe McNamara and plans are afoot for a ceremony at the Romford site to consecrate it.

“I hope they don’t put us all up for sacrifice,” he laughed.

McNamara drove a cement mixer into Leinster House© PA

Like the Achill version, the Romford henge hasn’t yet got planning permission but Jim is confident it will get the green light.

“They applied for planning and it was turned down. But the grounds on which it was turned down are no longer relevant so he’s going to apply again.

“He thinks he’ll get it the next time and if he doesn’t, and it becomes a problem, he’ll pull it down.”

Joe McNamara hit the headlines in 2010 when he drove a cement lorry with the words “Anglo” and “toxic bank” at the gates of Leinster House.

He was later acquitted of charges of criminal damage and dangerous driving.

On another occasion he parked a cherry picker outside Leinster House emblazoned with protest slogans.

In 2011 he was jailed for four nights after building the Stonehenge-type structure on Achill Island.

He was found to be in contempt of a court order at the time requiring him to cease working on what Mayo County Council said was an unauthorised and unlawful development.

The Achill henge is still standing.

In 2015 McNamara unveiled a seven-metre high structure on the banks of the Thames beside Tower Bridge in front of the offices of the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The structure consisted of a sword with the letters ‘pol’ written on it being driven through a heart­-shaped Union Jack.

It was meant to represent how politicians are a sword through the heart of Britain.

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