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Dublin: 3°C Monday 29 November 2021

No vote taken on motion to remove Athlone's Republican art

Athlone Town Council referred a motion seeking the removal of a Hunger Striker-themed installation to gallery directors.

A corridor inside the H Blocks of HM Prison Maze, where Republican Hunger Strikers were housed in 1981.
A corridor inside the H Blocks of HM Prison Maze, where Republican Hunger Strikers were housed in 1981.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A MOTION CALLING for the removal of a Republican piece of artwork from a public art gallery in Athlone has been referred to the gallery’s board and not put to a vote.

The motion, tabled by Fine Gael councillor Mark Cooney, had called for Shane Cullen’s installation, ‘Fragments sur les Institutions Républicaines IV’, to be removed from the Luan Gallery, run by a company which is owned by the council.

The installation features excerpts from ‘comms’ – written messages smuggled in and out of the Maze Prison’s H Blocks where Republican prisoners were being housed – around the time of the 1981 Hunger Strikes.

The piece has previously been exhibited at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and has been on show at the Luan Gallery since it was first opened in late November.

Cooney had proposed that the artwork be removed, however, on the basis that “it is offensive to so many people”.

The motion was not put to a vote, however, and was instead referred to the board of Athlone Art Heritage Ltd, a Council-owned company which also manages other facilities including Athlone Castle Visitor Centre and the Abbey Road Artists’ Studios.

“The matter of the motion will be considered at the next board meeting of Athlone Art and Heritage,” a spokeswoman told TheJournal.ie today.

“In the meantime Luan Gallery, Athlone Castle and Abbey Road Artists’ Studios continues to develop an exciting schedule of events, workshops and lectures that will promote inclusiveness and dialogue.”

The spokeswoman said the company welcomed “community collaboration” and looked forward to promoting “a dynamic and vibrant contemporary visual arts programme”.

The artwork will remain on display for the time being.

Read: Councillor wants republican artwork pulled from local exhibitt

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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