Independent Media Centre Ireland

Cork City Council remove mural and threaten to fine Ógra Shinn Féin

category cork | history and heritage | press release author Saturday August 08, 2009 03:09author by Don't Airbrush our History! - Ógra Shinn Féinauthor email osfnational at yahoo dot ie

Despite being hugely in debt, removing murals commemorating Cork’s history seems high on the agenda of those in City Hall.

That was the message clearly shown when Cork City Council recently removed tributes painted by Ógra Shinn Féin to the former TD and Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, and the Roll of Honour of Fianna Éireann, Chorcai.
The mural as it was..
The mural as it was..

In a shocking display of disrespect, the murals that had been painted on a derelict building in the Lee Fields were cited by the Recreation, Amenity and Culture Department as “defacement” under the Litter Pollution Act.

Terence MacSwiney died after 76 days on hunger strike in Brixton Prison, after being arrested in Cork having been found in possession of a cipher key. The four Fianna died in the struggle for Irish independence between the years 1917 and 1924.

Despite the wall having previously been covered by graffiti, no effort was ever made to refurbish it until the murals were painted. The vandalised portions of the wall remained untouched by the “renovation works”.

Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan O’ Brien said,

“I find it incredible that the Council has taken this action. This was an attempt by local youths to enhance the area through the celebration of those who made the greatest sacrifice for the people of Cork and this country. To say that it amounts to defacement beggars belief.”

Related Link:

After Cork City Hall defacement.
After Cork City Hall defacement.

Comments (12 of 12)

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author by Corkonianpublication date Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:17author address author phone

I am a regular user of the Lee Fields. I walk there, run there, play there with my children as do many others. It is a very beautiful place aliong the Lee. I am glad the Council painted over the mural. This is not for any political reason but simply because the mural was an eyesore in an area of scenic beauty and this is precisely an occasion when the term vandalism can be justifiably used. Ogra Sinn Fein should not have chosen this place for the mural. There are plenty of other more appropriate places that it could go.
For people not familiar with the Lee Fields and so you might undestand my points more clearly I believe that this is the equivalent of painting a mural on a wall in the Phoenix Park or Stephens Green or at the Strawberry Beds area of the Liffey.

author by Cork boypublication date Sat Aug 08, 2009 13:46author address author phone

The derelict building was covered with graffiti as are many other stretchs of wall in the lee fields area. Local youths took it upon themselves to cover the graffiti with something more productive, respectful and chose a monument to some of Cork's bravest patriots. I have heard nothing but praise for this initiative and have witnessed many tourists take pictures, and many regular wlakers to the area stop to take in the impressive art work.

I'm disgusted by Cork City Council's vandalism of this mural, they should be fined.

With all the social ills and problems in Cork, even recently the 'heroin' scare, you would think the Council would be encouraging projects like this that are involving young people in something positive and constructive, but no, they remove the mural, call it criminality and threaten to fine the young people. That is an absolute disgrace and the people of Cork and further afield will be angry when they hear about this.

Cork City Council defaces a tribute to Former Cork Lord Mayor. They really have no shame.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Sun Aug 09, 2009 13:12author address author phone

Thanks for showing us the "mural" as it was so that we could judge for ourselves whether or not could properly be considered "defacement".

While the valuation of art is always the province of the viewer this example seems to clearly be on the art side of the divide in the sense that I have more than a little trouble believeing somebody who claims "not only do I not care for this mural but it isn't even art".

Thus one thing entirely for it to be painted over because "not authorized" (and THAT a perfectly reasonable political decision whether or not I agree with it). But quite another matter to make the claim that the REASON for its removal was that it constituted a "defacement". This is a case where I do not agree with that assesssment but I have more than a little trouble accepting that those saying so actually believe their own words. I might not approve of the politics of this piece of art and it certain;ly isn't great art but its destruction more in the order of "vandalism" than its creation.

author by francis hughespublication date Sun Aug 09, 2009 20:36author address author phone

Lovely mural lads. fair play. its gas how they leave stupid tags and actual graffiti up for ages but whenever its political its down in a shot. dont let it deter u. fair play again

author by Seanpublication date Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:53author address author phone

There is a monument to Terence McSwiney and another to his comrade Tomás Mac Curtain right outside the front entrance of Cork City Hall on Terence McSwiney Quay. There is no need for this grafitti. The guy in the picture does not look like Terence McSwiney.

author by Eamonnpublication date Mon Aug 10, 2009 15:48author address author phone

Cheap lime green paint suppose thats how all the slaves of britan that are ashamed of Irish history view themselves keep the lime green paint up it says so much!

author by pablopublication date Mon Aug 10, 2009 16:27author address author phone

around the time of the hunger strikes me and a mate of mine were in a cat and mouse game with dublin coperation. they evertualy gave up. some of it is still there. hint hint.

author by Corkmanpublication date Mon Aug 10, 2009 18:10author address author phone

It's graffitti. It's not wanted by the local residents. I think that McSweeeny should of course be remembered by the people of Cork, but not by a SF mural.

SF murals are not about commemorating the past, they are about marking out territory. SF are obsessed with marking territory. They do it in the North with murals and painting kerbs. Very sectarian activity in the north. Even at election time SF place posters inside certain housing estates, even though most residents don't want posters inside estates and all other parties go by that unwritten rule.

I think the Council should stamp this out immediately. If SF want to commemorate people then start up a campaign to get a statue or whatever.

author by li'l lulupublication date Tue Aug 11, 2009 08:44author address author phone

It looked better before the Corp painted over it, but this anti-art vandalism is small fry compared with the gradual destruction of public services, hospitals, railways, and social services. No matter if it came from the Brits or SF, anything that enhances our lives is worth preserving.

author by Picasso.publication date Tue Aug 11, 2009 16:25author address author phone

"Cheap lime green paint suppose thats how all the slaves of britan that are ashamed of Irish history view themselves keep the lime green paint up it says so much!"

The cheap paint did the job.

Cork City can't afford "expensive" paint at the moment.

Unlike Sinn Fein.

The cost of the cheap paint,and the labour involved,should be recouped .


author by kildare sinner.publication date Tue Aug 11, 2009 20:10author address author phone

What a shame to paint over it lookd so good.

author by Petepublication date Wed Aug 12, 2009 07:25author address author phone

One aspect of this affair has not been mentioned.

The Cultural aspect.

To people in Cork big political wall-murals on are associated with the North.

The aristocrat King Billy riding to victory on his charger on the gable-end of the house of an impoverished East Belfast proletarian Orangeman.

Or Republican versions on West Belfast gable-ends etc.

Such political wall murals are UTTERLY UNKNOWN in Cork.

It is a custom from a place which is culturally "far away".

Just as Sinn Fein is culturally "far away" from everyday life in Cork.

Sinn Fein is a Northern party still if it thinks that such political wall murals will "wash" in the Deep South.

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