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Monday 18 December 2017

Painting of Haughey 'having his way with Ireland' removed from school

The artwork, entitled 'An Irish Political Allegory' shows seven Fianna Fáil Taoisigh
The artwork, entitled 'An Irish Political Allegory' shows seven Fianna Fáil Taoisigh
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A Cork artist whose depiction of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey "having his way with Ireland" has sparked a public debate over censorship.

Joe McNicholas said he was shocked that his painting, entitled 'An Irish Political Allegory', was removed from an exhibition at the CIT Cork School of Music (CSM) this week following what CSM director Dr Geoffrey Spratt described as "a very significant number of complaints" over the painting.

The "satirical painting" includes images of seven former Fianna Fáil Taoisigh in various poses.

But the one in question, in which a bare-chested Charles Haughey is standing in a sexual pose behind a topless image of Kathleen Ní Houlihan - a mythical female symbol of Irish nationalism - is what sparked the debate.

In an email to the artist, Dr Spratt said that because the school caters to children, the "CSM has a duty of care to more than 3,000 students under the age of 18 and if both parents and members of staff tell me they do not wish the school to display such imagery, I cannot ignore them".

Dr Spratt could not be reached for comment last night. However, Maria Judge, head of musicianship and academic studies at CSM, said the painting was not taken down because of its political statement.

She said it was removed because a large contingent of small children attended the school. "We have nearly 1,000 children who would be under the age of 18 coming here on a weekly basis," she told Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' on RTÉ radio yesterday.

Irish Independent

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