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'Repeal the 8th' mural in Temple Bar removed due to planning rules

The mural has attracted around 50 complaints – but hundreds of people have sent messages supporting the display.

Updated at 4pm

mural Source: Project Arts Centre

A MURAL READING ‘Repeal the 8th’ has been removed from the front wall of the Project Arts Centre in Dublin this afternoon.

The artwork, by street artist Maser, was commissioned by The Hunreal Issues, a new website set up to promote women’s issues.

It has proven controversial since its unveiling almost three weeks ago – attracting some 50 complaints. The centre has also received more than 200 messages of support, and a spokesperson said this morning that there had been an increase in the number of support messages regarding the display in recent days.

According to a statement from the Project Arts Centre:

We have taken the decision to remove the mural artwork by celebrated street artist, Maser, painted on the front of our building, after receiving a warning notice from Dublin City Council Planning Department that the work is in violation of the Planning & Development Acts (2000-2015).

Project Arts Centre Artistic Director Cian O’Brien said in the statement that the centre had had “an astonishing response” to the artwork. 

“I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the conversation around this important topic,” O’Brien said.

I in no way wish to censor or silence an artist; I respect the legal position that the DCC Planning Office is in and the parameters within which they are working.

He said it was the first time the centre had been presented with a planning notice for a painted artwork on the front of its building on East Essex Street in Temple Bar.  

He added:

Project Arts Centre is complying with the planning notice and has removed this artwork. We look forward to working through official channels with Maser and The HunReal Issues to explore the possibility of re-installing this work as soon as possible.

20160725_124054 The mural being removed today. Source: Daragh Brophy

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said that class 12 of schedule two in part one of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 “exempts the painting of the external part of any building or other structure from requiring planning permission”.

The exemption does not necessarily apply to any structure included on the council’s record of protected structures.
However, the painting may not be for the purposes of creating a mural and the legislation applies to buildings in private ownership.

They added that: “Murals and other artistic designs require planning permission when applied to the external part of any structure.”

An online petition set up by The HunReal Issues on www.change.org to support the mural has been signed by over 3,000 people.

Opposition 

Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said in a statement that the right decision had been taken, and described the mural as “highly political”.

It had, she said, “everything to do with campaigning and nothing to do with art”.

“The claims by some that its removal represents censorship are laughable,” Sherlock said.
 
“The Project Arts Centre should belong to everyone and not have such a close-minded attitude on what constitutes freedom of expression.

“In its current make up, there is not the slightest chance that it would have allowed, for example, a mural being placed on its building giving voice to women’s feelings of abortion regret.

It is issues like this that deserve proper attention given the absurd and unacceptable way the Project Arts Centre has behaved in recent weeks.

The mural was removed before lunchtime today. However, since then, a display reading ‘Repeal 8th’ has appeared in a window in a building right across from its former site.

8th Amendment

The 8th Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1983 was effected after a referendum that year which asked Irish people to vote on the State’s abortion laws.

It acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, equating it with the mother’s right to life.

The Cabinet last month approved plans for a Citizens’ Assembly to address abortion and other issues, with the 100 member group due to hold its first meeting in November.

Read: Drone to bring abortion pills across the border to Northern Ireland today>

Read: Who’s going to sit on the abortion assembly?>

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