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Government prioritises costly Moore St High Court Challenge at expense of Pearse surrender letter – Tóibín

15 November, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on heritage, Peadar Tóibín TD, has said that the possible sale of Pádraig Pearse’s 1916 surrender letter to a buyer outside the state would be a terrible shame and a real loss to the country.

An Teachta Tóibín said that, while the asking price for the letter itself was incredibly high, he could not understand how the state could at the same time fritter money from the 1916 Commemoration budget on opposing the preservation of Moore Street National Monument.

An Teachta Tóibín said:

“Pearse’s surrender letter is one of the most iconic and important historical documents in the history of our state.  It will be sold by auction in three weeks’ time, and given the international interest in the letter, there is a high probability that it will be sold to a foreign bidder and leave the country for good.

“While the cost of acquiring the letter could cost upwards of €1 million, there is no doubt that it should be in the hands of one of our cultural institutions for safeguarding and display. The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs have said that it would not constitute the best use of taxpayers’ money and while there is validity in this argument, it beggars belief that that Department have still seen fit to spend thousands upon thousands of euro on court cases effectively supporting the destruction of Moore Street.

“Yet again, we are privy to the warped priorities of a Minister who purportedly serves to support and enrich our heritage, yet time and time again acts against the interests of preserving the honour and legacy of the founding fathers of our state.

“If Minister Heather Humphries could have seen fit to co-operate in the conservation of Moore Street, and not appeal the High Court order for its preservation, funds to purchase this letter could have been made more readily available.

“It shows that much of the commemorative exercises by the government were merely PR initiatives. Our cultural, historical and political legacy, under the current government can all too easily be sold to the highest bidder.” 

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