Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Crowe says state should have intervened to save historical documents from speculators

12 April, 2006

Speaking outside the Auction rooms of James Adams and Sons on Stephens Green this morning, where a collection of historical material related to the campaign for Irish independence and 1916 in particular is on display, Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said, "It is a disgrace that this auction is going ahead."

He said, "The government should have prevented it happening until they had ascertained the importance of the documents such as the national anthem and the final letters from Pearse and McDonagh. If these documents are purchased by private investors they will be lost to future generations forever."

"The Government should not have to compete with speculators and foreign investors to obtain valuable and irreplaceable historical documents.

"The government would have the power to intervene if it bring forward the necessary legislation. There is precedent for this - they were able to intervene to acquire paintings and artefacts such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara brooch etc. Important historical documents should be treated the exact same."

Deputy Crowe went on to say, "This material represents part of our shared heritage. It is part of what we are as a people and a country. This sale amounts to nothing more than the vulgar prostitution of our collective history. I have no doubt that much of this material will be bought up by private speculators with an eye to the 100th anniversary of the Rising in ten years time.

"This material should be on display in our museums for all to see. It should not become the personal trophies of a select few or worse still viewed by profiteers as an item that will increase in value as we approach the 100th anniversary." ENDS

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