Friday 20 April 2018

Another Dail reshuffle -- and this time Bertie's in the frame


Staff from the Office of Public Works are shuffling the portraits of former Taoisigh around the walls of Leinster House to find space for a painting of Bertie Ahern.

The re-organisation should be completed by mid-September, a spokeswoman said.

As the turnover of Taoisigh shows no sign of abating any time soon, the area around the main staircase leading to the Dail chamber -- where paintings of former leaders are hung in chronological sequence -- has become over-crowded.

This has resulted in significant work having to be completed to find space for the taxpayer-funded, €10,000-valued portrait of Mr Ahern -- painted by Dublin-based artist James Hanley in 2001.

Hanley is an established portrait artist who has painted many official and State portraits. He has painted Maureen Potter and Ronnie Delany. He is represented in significant public, corporate and private collections in Ireland and abroad, and is a full member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and was also elected to Aosdana.

Fr Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland has suggested that photographs rather than paintings should be considered in the future.

"In the current climate, it is complete waste of money," he has said.

Portraits of Eamon de Valera and William T Cosgrave were transferred to the lobby to make way for later Taoisigh such as Albert Reynolds and John Bruton. No portrait of Brian Cowen hangs there yet.

Sunday Independent

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