Fine Gael motion a narrow minded attack on Irish art – Hogan
Commenting this evening on the growing controversy surrounding a motion to Athlone Town Council by Fine Gael’s Mark Cooney seeking the removal of an exhibit by artist Shane Cullen from the Luan Gallery, Athlone Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hogan branded the motion a narrow minded attack on Irish art and an attempt to censor history.
Councillor Hogan said:
“The motion by Councillor Cooney is an unprecedented attack on the Irish museum of Modern Art which has graciously lent this collection of works to the Luan gallery in Athlone.
“Shane Cullen is a highly respected artist who has exhibited internationally including representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale.
“This work has been exhibited in many places including London. His other best known work is a piece on the Good Friday Agreement.
“Councillor Cooney is asking this council to censor a piece based on the tragic events in the prisons in the North in the 1980s, events that were milestones in Irish history.
“The first person to raise this issue was none other than former Minister Paddy Cooney, a member of a government in the 1970s notorious for political censorship of the media.
“Facing up to the legacy of our country's history is a responsibility we all share, no matter how uncomfortable some aspects may be for some people. Censoring history is never the way forward.
“Any attempt to remove Shane Cullen’s work will irreparably damage the reputation of the Luan Gallery. Other artists opposed to censorship in the arts will not want to exhibit here.
“Athlone Town Council cannot and must not stand over such a move.”