another lick on the wall

Maser's Repeal the 8th mural is back up in Temple Bar (and it won’t come down this time)

Only this week it was removed from another wall in the area.

MASER’S MUCH-DEBATED Repeal the 8th mural, which was recently removed from a wall in Temple Bar, has now gone back up on another wall in the same Dublin entertainment district.

The mural was removed from the wall of the Project Arts Centre but has now been repainted on a wall at Amnesty International Ireland’s headquarters on Fleet Street.

The Project Arts Centre took the decision to paint over the mural earlier this week when its charitable status was threatened, but the Charities Regulator has said that the same issues don’t arise in this case because Amnesty International is not a registered charity in Ireland.

The mural was first commissioned by HunReal Issues in 2016 and has sparked controversy after it was painted and then removed numerous times.

The Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar had previously painted the artwork on the side of its building in 2016, but it was found to be in violation of planning laws and was removed.

Earlier this month it returned to the side of the building, located on East Essex Street, as it fell under the category of ads for referendums and elections, meaning it did not require planning permission.

However, the Charities Regulator issued the centre with a warning last week  that it would risk losing its charitable status if the mural remained.

Asked by if the same issues would arise with this new incarnation of the mural, the Charities Regulator said they would not.

“Amnesty International is not a registered charity and so the installation of the mural at their premises is not an issue for the Charities Regulator. The advancement of human rights is not a recognised charitable purpose under the Charities Act so Amnesty would not be eligible to apply for charitable status,” the spokesperson said.

The issue with the Project Arts Centre was not that they were a charity but that they had classified the mural as a political advertisement, by using the planning exemption for political advertising to erect it. Charities can engage in political activity, but only to directly advance their charitable purpose.On the Charities Register the Project Arts Centre stated that their charitable purpose was the advancement of education. Therefore engaging in political activity for the current referendum was not relevant to their cause. We advised them of this and warned that they ran the risk of losing their charitable status. The trustees of the Project took the mural down as a result.

The latest mural on the side of the Amnesty International building is in a different colour to the well-known red and blue version, with the group saying the shades match its Yes vote campaign.

Amnesty International Ireland’s executive director Colm O’Gorman said that the continuation of the mural is evocative of the people who have tirelessly campaigned for repeal.

“We are proud and honoured to host this iconic piece of art, which captures the essence of this campaign,” O’Gorman said this evening.

“No matter how hard the other side try to paint over the issue, the Eighth Amendment causes women immense harm and suffering. This mural is a testament to the unwavering spirit of those who have campaigned for 35 years for its repeal.”

“We hope that after 25 May, ‘Repeal the 8th’ need no longer be the rallying cry for those concerned for women’s dignity and equality.”

- With reporting by Céimin Burke

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