Climate change protester who threw soup at painting in Cork ‘getting life back on track’

Thomas Shinnick (27), who said at earlier hearing he ‘did not kill anyone but climate change will’, making progress in addressing personal difficulties, court hears

A 27-year-old climate change protester who threw soup at an artwork in the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork last year is “doing well” in terms of getting his life back on track, a court has heard.

Thomas Shinnick of Main Street, Charleville, Co Cork previously pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a painting – George Atkinson’s Anatomical Study – on November 10th, 2022. He also pleaded guilty to being in possession of a screwdriver on the same occasion.

The painting, which is glazed, was not damaged in the incident. However, the second floor of the gallery had to be closed for a period to allow a clean up operation to take place.

On Thursday at Cork District Court solicitor Diarmuid Kelleher, who is representing Mr Shinnick, said that his client has been making progress in terms of addressing his personal difficulties. Mr Shinnick was without a criminal record until the age of 24.


Judge Marian O’Leary adjourned the case until October 12th to allow for a written psychiatric report in relation to Mr Shinnick.

The parents of Mr Shinnick previously agreed to pay the €450 which the gallery spent on the clean up. Their son will pay them back in instalments.

Mr Shinnick also previously pleaded guilty today to resisting arrest arising out of a separate incident on the May 3rd, 2022 when gardaí were called when he refused to pay his bus fare in Cork city. The court heard that Shinnick threw a closed fist at the investigating officer, narrowly avoiding contact.

The court has heard that Mr Shinnick is on good terms with his family who are helping with his issues. He is in Housing First accommodation in Charleville and has stayed out of trouble. He is attending a horticulture course and hopes to get a job in the near future.

At a previous appearance in Cork District Court for the criminal damage offence at the gallery Mr Shinnick said that his actions did not kill anyone but that climate change will.

He told Judge O’Leary that he wouldn’t have thrown soup at the artwork if it wasn’t behind glass. He described what happened at the gallery as a “disruptive non-violent direct action”.

“I did no damage to the painting which was behind glass. I did not kill anyone but climate change will.

“I recognise that it is a ridiculous action and I am not saying everyone should be throwing soup at paintings. I am not a criminal. I am a scared little kid trying to fight for their future.”