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Friday 9 December 2016

Ahern to hang out with De Valera on Dail walls

Fiach Kelly

Published 14/03/2011 | 05:00

Mr Ahern’s portrait will hang alongside those of Eamon de Valera and John Bruton
Mr Ahern’s portrait will hang alongside those of Eamon de Valera and John Bruton

A portrait of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that cost €10,000 to commission will finally hang on the walls of Leinster House -- seven years after it was first completed.

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And Brian Cowen will also have his picture painted so it can be displayed in the Dail before the summer break.

A spokesman from the Office of Public Works (OPW), which looks after the portraits, said contact would be made with Mr Cowen to arrange sittings for the paintings.

The spokesman said no definite budget had been set aside for the painting but it would nevertheless be commissioned "as is practice" for former Taoisigh.

Mr Ahern's painting cost around €10,000 and it is expected Mr Cowen's will also run into the thousands.

A spokesman for the Houses of the Oireachtas said that the paintings should be displayed before the Dail summer break.

It is tradition that portraits of Taoisigh are not displayed in Leinster House until the former office holder has left the Dail entirely.

It's for that reason Mr Ahern's portrait has remained mostly under wraps after he stepped down as Taoiseach in 2008.

Mr Ahern's portrait was painted by James Hanley and was completed in 2004.

Despite being completed years ago, the picture has largely been kept in storage, apart from occasionally being shown in exhibitions organised by the OPW.

The existing 10 portraits -- the nine Taoisigh from Eamon de Valera to John Bruton, and WT Cosgrave, President of the Executive Council in the Free State -- may have to be moved to accommodate the new portraits.

Irish Independent

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