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Art donations are not always tawdry

THE prospect of tax breaks enticing donations of art to the State is a further reflection of the increasing cynical disposition of our nation. Apparently, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art have received no donations of art under Section 1003 since 2008 (Sunday Independent, January 30, 2011).

The notion of receiving tax relief in return for donating art to the State increases our distrust of institutions that visually represent our culture.

There have, in fact, been generous donations to the Irish State by people with a vision that stretches further than businessmen in the boom years "rushing" to avail of pecuniary relief. In 2010, artist and silversmith Padraig O Mathuna donated a rare and exceptional piece of art, crafted by his own hand to the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks -- a silver pendent displaying the complex and ancient technique of gold granulation. The time for moral donations of art is upon us.

These are donations born out of a vision for preserving our Irish culture and not for tawdry gifts resulting from tax breaks.

Muireann Charleton
Education Department, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin 7

Irish Independent