‘There’s Nothing Wrong With A Heart That Calls For Repeal’


This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger raised the taking down of artist Maser’s Repeal the 8th mural from the Project Arts Centre yesterday.

It was removed after the Charities Regulator informed the centre the artwork is “political activity” and that, as a consequence, the centre is in breach of the Charities Act 2009.

Ms Coppinger, and fellow TD Paul Murphy, held up copies of the mural, as she said:

“I would just like to know what the Taoiseach and others think is so offensive about this – that it should be banned by a State body. And would you agree with me, that we should challenge that… and we should say ‘no, there’s nothing wrong with a heart that calls for repeal’ and there’s nothing… we should not allow political censorship.”

Before Taoiseach Leo Varadkar could respond, Tánaiste Simon Coveney could be heard saying across the chamber:

“Stupid stunts like that do nothing to inform…”


Watch the Dáil proceedings live here

Yesterday: Once More With Emulsion

69 thoughts on “‘There’s Nothing Wrong With A Heart That Calls For Repeal’

  1. Cian

    I have a lot of respect for Ruth Coppinger, but then she comes out with this rubbish…

    ..it’s not political censorship, it is ensuring that certain bodies remain apolitical.

    1. Frill the 8th

      but the Regulator hasn’t been on the up and up about his conflicts

      typical jobs for bhoys mess the women have to clean up

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          Writing faith based books, but not doing anything about religious interference in political matters. Religions who register as charities don’t have political aims in their terms and articles. The Project Arts centre didn’t either, so their artwork gets censored, but banners and posters, including illegal ones with no printer details, hanging from church properties get to remain without sinister threats to their charitable statuses.

          1. newsjustin

            Ok. So the church hanging banners/posters is an interesting one. Although I’ve yet to see one.

            But the suggested conflict – that he writes s certain type of book and worked for Accord in the past does not even come close to a conflict of interest.

            In fairness, the rules are quite clear, the Project Arts Centre broke them.

          2. david

            Get over it
            The road from skibbereen to cork city has suddenly seems all pro life posters and anti remove eight posters all removed but plenty of repeal the eight poster’s up labour Sinn feinn and I travelled the road today
            Then I listened to the radio with Olivia oleary going on about Mary lou’s refusal to apologise for the 3000 plus victims of her party military wing
            She stated
            ETA apologised for their butchery in Spain
            Cameron apologised for the bloody Sunday massacre and other killings by the Brits
            Gusty Spence for his terrorists groups killings but Sinn feinn never
            So Mary lou your parties butchery of the living its like your murder of the unborn
            And Sinn feinn want to sit in government in our nation
            Well Mary lou over my dead body

    2. Nigel

      Since it was the government that legally required a piece of political art to be obliterated, it’s censorship pretty much by definition, surely? You may agree with the government, you may think it’s a good law, but the government destroying art because it contained a political message? Technically an act of censorship however you look at it.

        1. Nigel

          The removal of the mural was as a result of a legally binding ruling on behalf of the government, was it not? Maybe ‘the state’ would be more apropos?

          1. Cian

            hmm.. I just find that people use “the government” to mean anything from
            – the Taoiseach
            – the Cabinet
            – the ruling party/ies <– this is technically "the government of Ireland"
            – the Dáil
            – the Oireachtas
            – some/all of the Civil Service
            – some/all of the Civil and Public Service
            – the State
            and possibly a few others in between. It can mean either the current incumbents, or any/all previous ones.

          2. Nigel

            Well, yeah, but this was an exercise of governmental power, minor and all as it might be in the larger scheme of things.

          3. The Ghost of Starina

            @Cian *gets out journalism school reading glasses* Government with a capital G is the incumbent party/ies. government with a lower g can actually refer to all of those things, at least to the common schmoe like myself

          4. Cian

            Starina – good point about the “g” Vs “G”;

            You[1] are, of course, free to use the lower-case g…. but then you run the risk of confusing a schmoe like me. Unless the rest of the sentence provides adequate context.

            *edit: see how Nigel wrote “was an exercise of governmental power” which is effectively meaningless because it may refer to any of the things listed above – from the declaration of Martial Law… to a librarian overlooking a fine.

            [1] not specifically you, the general you.

          5. Nigel

            ‘Exercise of governmental power’ has a fairly specific meaning, albeit a broad one. Censorship is an exercise of governmental power. People who have their comments deleted by Broadsheet are not being censored. People who have their murals painted over at the behest of a government regulator are.

      1. Cian

        How would you feel if public servants were free to support specific parties while at work? Say individual Garda started to wear insignia supporting, say, FF? Or if the armed forces sported FG logos? or librarians got out there SF logos? or the dole officers with the SocDem badges? or the immigration wore “Immigration Control Platform” ones?

        Would that be censorship?

        I think that government-funded entities should be above politics? And none of these should be allowed to push any political messages. And I don’t think that is censorship.

        1. nellyb

          Based on the premise that intercourse, female anatomy and reproduction are political. Repeal is to declassify it as political. So, the approach to mural is contingent on the view. Not an easy one.

        2. Nigel

          Charities are funded and regulated by the state (to varying degrees) but they are not official arms of the state the way the police force or the army are, or official state services the way libraries are. An arts charity in particular is involved in facilitating the expression of points of view, therefore the state requiring the destruction of a work of art associated with the charity because of the point of view expressed, is engaged in censorship.

          Also, while it might be inappropriate for librarians to extol particular political points of view in their place of work in a way that could be mistaken for an official endorsement by the library service, if the state prohibited them from stocking certain books or periodicals because of their political point of view, or removed books or periodicals for that reason, I think that might be a kind of censorship too.

          1. Cian

            Nigel, again, if the art existed first, and laws were introduced to retrospectively make that specific art illegal, then I would agree that it is censorship.

            On the other hand, if the state decides that it is willing to fund entities, and includes a list of things that the entity should (or should not) do to continue to receive funds. If an entity chooses to break the rules – they are then in a position to either ensure the “destruction of a work of art” or they can choose to reject further state funding.

          2. Nigel

            I don’t think the ‘when it was created’ matters all that much. Whether the art contravened the rules knowingly, or in ignorance, or in the assumption that it didn’t, it was nonetheless destroyed by or on behalf of the government, therefore it was censored.

          3. Cian

            It wasn’t destroyed by or on behalf of the government.

            They were told that it was breaking the terms of their charity status – and if they wanted to retain their charity status they needed to remove it.
            They had a choice – either keep the political mural (and lose their charity status) or remove the painting (and keep their charity status).

          4. Cian

            Is the council worker removing posters that don’t have a printer name and organisation name also guilty of censorship?

            Is she exercising government power?

      1. Cian

        If it gets government funding it should not be seen to support one side or another of a political issue.

        1. Nigel

          So all organisations in receipt of government funding must remain viewpoint neutral? Homeless charities can’t criticise government policies?

          1. Cian

            It depends. Homeless charities can criticise the government’s policy on housing, planning, lending, and other relevant areas. But not on non housing areas.

            Could you imagine the next general election if charities decided to support particular parties – in the hopes that if they got in they would get better funding?

          2. Nigel

            Why shouldn’t charities support parties promoting policies they believe would improve things they’re concerned about? (One obvious answer is because if that party loses the other party won’t look very favourably on them at all, and given the cyclical nature of democratic politics, the other party is bound to come into power sooner or later.)

    3. david

      Funny enough I do not
      She was elected as a protest and frankly that’s what we got
      She has achieved nothing except collect her pay check and moan

  2. nellyb

    It’s only a matter of time till someone gets really annoyed and paints €0€k n b@!!$ on that wall

  3. Rep

    I weirdly agree with Coveney on this.

    The yes side need to be trying to convince those that are unsure, not those that are already going to vote yes.

    1. b

      annoying how much time and energy is spent by the Yes side on what are effectively backslapping exercises

      1. Hansel

        I’m 100% with you guys on this.

        I felt it was the same in the marriage referendum: an awful lot of vacuum-chamber campaigning going on. “No” seem to be ahead by a country mile in my local urban area when it comes to traditional campaigning methodology, with bumper stickers, leaflets, doorstepping, posters, billboards.

        1. Nigel

          If it’s like the marriage referendum then perhaps your perceptions might not be the most reliable gauge.

  4. newsjustin

    I’m always baffled by politicians claiming that we should defy the law because of our emotions.

    “What’s wrong with a heart calling for repeal?”
    It’s against the rules Ruth. No matter how much you like it.

  5. rotide

    This is just posturing by Coppinger, ensuring a few clicks on sites like this.

    If it was a no campaign foetus mural, there’d be no tears about it being painted over.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        They already spend most of their time on the tv, radio and in their national newspaper columns complaining about being silenced!

        1. Nigel

          You’re right. Presented with an instance of actually being silenced they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.

  6. The Ghost of Starina

    To be honest, I kind of disagree with Coppinger on this one. And I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with her haha.

    I’m glad it was said in the Dáil that the CEO of the Charities Regulator has his own right-wing religious motivations, but rules is rules and I think the Project Arts knew this when they put the mural up for the second time. I’m sure they were not surprised when the order came through to remove it again — they might have been expecting it.

    Now, to qualify this, I have to say that *personally* I feel that the Project Arts wouldn’t have been slapped so quickly if it was an anti-choice mural.

  7. george

    It could be argued that they are perfectly within their remit as an arts centre to host a political artwork. Charities are only banned from political activity in certain circumstances. I hope the Project Arts centre can and will challenge the decision of the regulator in time to ensure this can’t happen again.

    1. The Ghost of Starina

      Wonder what would have happened if they put on a performance in favour of abortion rights?

      1. Gerry

        Dunno but they’ve always been a visual arts venue With a gallery as well as a theatre and have used the outside of the gallery for artwork many times so it shouldn’t make any difference.

  8. Jonsmoke

    All the time and effort on this one mural on one street in Dublin! The Yes campaign should be focusing on their poster campaign country wide. They are getting ‘wrecked’ (as my 8 year old son would say) by the No campaign on that score. I am really worried that the No’s will win by convincing the undecided purely because their message is out there in your face. The Yes posters are way less in number and very bland. The message to vote Yes and a reason why is not being shouted loud enough.

    1. Andrew

      +1 It will be the likes of Coppinger you can blame if repeal is rejected. This is farcical.

    2. Cian

      I have to agree – the Yes posters aren’t great (in my area).

      There are probably 4:1 No:Yes (although this is getting better – Labour have added posters in the last few days, and someone else with a big pink box with a tiny pill in the middle and lots of small words that I can’t read because they are small, and I am moving too fast)

      The No posters are just ‘better’. But (the ones I’ve noticed) the No tends to be a big “No”, on a white background. The Yes tends to be a smaller “Yes” that is white on a dark-background. And personally I find the “Yes” less effective.

      There seems to be a pink theme to all posters – for some reason.

      1. rotide

        In fairness, the No campaign has a far more direct and simple message; Abortion = dead babies

        The Yes campaign has a far harder task in that it needs to be sensitive to a wide range of feelings on the issue. My personal feeling is that the buzzwords that are being used are all far too vague compared to the simplicity of the No side. The whole right to healthcare, trust women to choose phraseolgy goes down well with the hardcore repeal crowd but it means absolutely nothing to people who are teetering on the brink of seeing a feotus at any stage as a baby.

  9. johnny

    Ciaran Cannon (Minister for the Diaspora & International Development, Ireland. TD for Galway East, husband, dad, musician, songwriter…) commingles propaganda with his official work (paid by the sate).
    In my opinion he’s completely ill suited for his job,he should keep his personal views which are offensive to may overseas and those forced to travel, to himself or at the very least separate them from his state functions,which appear to be mostly ceremonial,like those off a member off the royal family….


    1. newsjustin

      Haha. Tell that to the cabinet ministers campaigning for Yes and the Taoiseach begging for money for the Yes campaign.

      1. Johnny

        He’s a zealot with no class,hijaking a state funded stop smoking campaign,it’s crass and tacky.

  10. Andrew

    This is such nonsense to be wasting time over. Coppinger never fails to prove what an irrelevance she is.
    It’s not ‘Government’ censorship. The ‘Government’ of the day support repeal. What the dinky-pie is wrong with her?

  11. Bort

    Forget about the mural and stop preaching to the choir. Concentrate on persuading No voters, do a mural in Roscommon

    1. jonsmoke

      I was chatting to a neighbour of mine about this. He is a retired man, from a rural background. He brought up the topic and says ‘sure you know my views, I’m a bit of a conservative, I just can’t vote Yes and have unrestricted abortion in the country’. What are you talking about says me, this vote is just to remove the 8th amendment. There still has to be a law put in place following the referndum if it is removed. Nobody knows yet what exactly that law is, but it won’t allow total unrestricted abortion at any stage of a pregnancy. Oh! says he. I didn’t know that. I thought it would be full unrestricted. Well, I will have to think about this again.
      This is the type of person the Yes campaign need to be getting the message to!

      1. newsjustin

        “….but it won’t allow total unrestricted abortion at any stage of a pregnancy.”

        Why did you need to lie to him? You surely know that the proposed legislation to follow removal of the 8th is for unrestricted, on request abortion up to 12 weeks.

        Hopefully that gentleman will learn the truth of what is being proposed from someone/someplace else.

        1. Jonsmoke

          maybe my explanation isn’t very clear but essentially his fear was voting Yes would allow abortions for any reason at any time during a pregnancy. I told him that is not the case, that legislation will have to be passed following the referendum. Key word here is passed. No lies were told.
          Point is, there are far too many lies coming from the No side and lots of people are believing them.

          1. newsjustin

            Right. So you’ve just changed the fear that the man had that you claim to have addressed. Forgive me if I don’t take your last point seriously then.

  12. Scundered

    Couldn’t they go one better and announce “the repealers are a great bunch of lads!”?

  13. Alors

    Just a small quiet little question: The whole of Dublin, if not the whole of the country, was covered in rainbows before the last referendum.
    In a referendum that might, for a shortcut, be called Let Women Be Human, Let Women Not Be Vessels, is it different?

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