Protest held over removal of Maser Repeal mural from Project Arts Centre 11 months ago

Protest held over removal of Maser Repeal mural from Project Arts Centre

"You can paint over a mural, but you can't paint over an issue."

A protest was held at the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar on Monday morning over the removal of a Repeal the 8th mural.

The mural, painted by Irish artist Maser, was removed from the front wall of the Project Arts Centre after they'd received notice from The Charities Regulator that it was against regulations.

Standing at 14 feet high, the mural remained on the wall for just over two weeks before being painted over by Dublin City Council back in July 2016.

After about 50 complaints, Dublin City Council Planning Department informed the centre that it was in violation of planning rules.

Reinstalled for a second time just over a week ago, the mural is now being removed once more due to being in breach of the regulator's code of conduct.

In a post published by the Project Arts Centre, they've stated that the art piece had to come down due it being in breach of the Charities Act 2009.

"The Charities Regulator has informed Project Arts Centre that the display of Maser’s ‘Repeal the 8th’ artwork is ‘political activity’ and that we are therefore in breach of the Charities Act 2009 and not in line with our ‘charitable purpose’," the statement began.

"Should the artwork not be removed, we risk losing our charitable status. Project Arts Centre respects the authority of the Charities Regulator and will comply with their order to remove Maser’s artwork."

Crowds gathered on the cobbled streets of Temple Bar to protest the mural's removal and to voice their opinions on the upcoming referendum. Ruth Coppinger TD was there, microphone in hand, to add to an already raucous crowd of disapproving supporters of the Repeal movement.

The mural was painted over by Cian O'Brien, Artistic Director of the Project Arts Centre, at 11am on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the LoveBoth campaign has said that if publicly funded buildings are going to be used to advertise either side in the abortion referendum, then the only fair thing to do is to allow both sides equal time and space.

Reacting to the decision of the Project Arts Centre to remove Maser’s pro-repeal mural from their building, LoveBoth spokesperson Cora Sherlock explained how she believes it would have been an unfair decision to leave the mural up.

“From the information publicly available, this decision by the Project Arts Centre was taken after advice received from the Charities Regulator who took an opinion on whether it was appropriate for a charity like the Arts Centre taking part in such a political campaign," Sherlock said.

“It’s important to say that LoveBoth had nothing to do with this decision. We have repeatedly asked the Project Arts Centre to allow us to paint a mural depicting the harm caused by abortion on its building, as it is deeply unfair to allow a political mural for one side of the debate only to be painted on a publicly funded charitable body.

"Despite our repeated requests for equal access to space in the Project Arts Centre we have received no access, nor any realistic prospect of access in the time remaining before the referendum."

The referendum to decide whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment has been set for Friday, 25 May.