Thursday 8 December 2016

Sinn Féin exhibition on 1916 jumps to tribute to the Provisional IRA

Ciara Treacy

Published 02/04/2016 | 02:30

Two women look at images of hunger strikers as part of the ‘1916 Revolution’ exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Two women look at images of hunger strikers as part of the ‘1916 Revolution’ exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Items on 1916 on display at the exhibition. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Michael Collins revolver on display as part of Revolution 1916. Photo: Gerry Mooney
A badge on show at the event. Photo: Gerry Mooney
A shirt belonging to hunger striker Kieran Doherty. Photo: Gerry Mooney

A Sinn Féin-led exhibition on the 1916 Rising makes the leap to a tribute to the Provisional IRA.

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The widely publicised exhibition on the Rising includes an exhibition on the hunger strikers.

Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne has questioned why the party-led exhibition has been allowed to be heavily advertised on the national airwaves.

"If it is for a political purpose, it begs the question: should it be allowed to be advertised on the national airwaves? Because political party broadcasts are not allowed on the airwaves," he said.

"This was organised by Sinn Féin as part of their 1916 celebrations.

"It should be made clear the purpose of it and if money is being used for political purposes, that should be disclosed to the public," he added.

The exhibition, which opened in February and has a €15 entry fee, includes an original Proclamation and a revolver once owned by Michael Collins. However, it also features material relating to the Provisional IRA hunger strikes of 1981, including a shirt worn by Kieran Doherty, who died after 73 days of protest.

In a bizarre twist, Sinn Féin yesterday insisted it was not actually running the exhibition.

When asked about its involvement in the event at Dublin's Ambassador Theatre and why the more recent hunger strikes are included, Sinn Féin directed questions to its own separate company, Ireland 1916 Commemorations Ltd.

The party said the event was being run by Ireland 1916 Commem­orations Ltd.

Sinn Féin referred questions on why the hunger strikes were included to the firm, which shares an address and phone number with the party. "Sinn Féin is of the view that it is appropriate to remember the hunger strikes in this 35th anniversary year," a spokesman stated.

When contacted, a spokesman for Ireland 1916 Commemorations Ltd, Bartle D'Arcy - who has an email address that includes the party's name - said the exhibition was "organised and run" by Ireland 1916 Commemorations Ltd and "not by Sinn Féin".

Mr D'Arcy also said it was the 35th anniversary of the hunger strikes and that "all proceeds - if any - after costs" would be reinvested by the company in commemoration events it carries out.

Mr D'Arcy is Sinn Féin's '1916/2016 National Programme Co-ordinator'.

His office address is listed as Sinn Féin headquarters.

The 'contact us' section of the website lists the address of the Sinn Féin offices at Parnell Square, the contact phone number directs to the office and the email address is 1916@sinnfein.ie.

Underneath these details it reads: "for information on Sinn Féin the political party and how to join see here www.sinnfein.ie". The revolution1916.ie website lists Sinn Féin HQ as its address.

Irish Independent

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