Campaigner urges OPW to halt Taoisigh portraits
THE Office of Public Works has been urged to scrap its tradition of expensive portraits of former Taoisigh, after it emerged a €10,000 painting of Bertie Ahern will be permanently on show in the Dail.
The OPW confirmed that a taxpayer-funded painting of Mr Ahern will be mounted in Leinster House in the coming weeks after the Dail goes into recess.
But his successor, Brian Cowen, may not receive the same artistic treatment -- as pressure was mounting last night for the OPW to tighten its purse and use a photographer for future portraits.
The portrait of Mr Ahern has already been shown in the Royal Hibernian Academy's annual exhibition and in the OPW's touring exhibition 'Faces'.
It was painted in 2001 by Dublin artist James Hanley.
A spokeswoman for the OPW said: "It will be hung in chronological sequence in the series of portraits of former Taoisigh located around the main staircase leading to the Dail Chamber in Leinster House." Fr Sean Healy, who heads Social Justice Ireland, said: "photographs would serve exactly the same purpose and adequately mark the legacy of a former Taoiseach at a much cheaper price.
"It's hugely symbolic of how taxpayers' money is being spent and in the current climate it is a complete waste."