Monday 22 July 2019

Office once occupied by Bertie Ahern among those missing artwork in Leinster House

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

Daniel McConnell

An office once occupied by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is among those missing artwork in Leinster House, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Almost two dozen works of art, including a Robert Ballagh piece, are still missing somewhere in Leinster House almost three years after they were first reported as mislaid.

This weekend, senior Office of Public Works (OPW) sources have confirmed that at least one piece of artwork among those currently unaccounted for was listed as being in Mr Ahern's office.

The office in question was occupied by Mr Ahern in Leinster House after he vacated Government Buildings in 2008 when he resigned as Taoiseach.

"Inquiries in relation to the missing artwork are going on and one of the offices where some of the unaccounted for artwork should be was the office held by Bertie Ahern," one senior source told the Irish Independent.

However, the senior sources are insisting that Mr Ahern is personally in no way being implicated in the unaccounted artwork review.

Of the 21 pieces of art, some may have been moved amid the upheaval within Leinster House following the largest ever changeover of TDs following the 2011 General Election.

"In some cases, when people moved offices, it seems some people took their artwork with them to their new premises.

"This obviously has created some difficulty in placing where artwork should be," said a Government source.

While some of the mislaid artworks may yet be found, an official investigation as to the status of the missing artworks remains ongoing, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for managing the collection of more than 720 works of art.

Included in the 21 pieces of artwork are a Ballagh print entitled 'King's Inns Interior', and a valuable oil painting by Brett McEntaggart worth more than €2,300.

The details of the artworks are contained in documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Both the OPW and the Houses of the Oireachtas said an inventory process to find or account for the artworks is still "ongoing".

The OPW said: "OPW Art Management Office and Leinster House staff are currently working on the ongoing inventory process.

"No further information is available at this time," the OPW added.

Scores of pieces of artwork were moved during the largest ever changeover of TDs following the 2011 General Election.

Irish Independent

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