19 April 2007 Edition
Irish history goes up for sale again
Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Councillor Pearse Doherty took part in Tuesday’s protest and said "important historical documents should be the property of all the people of Ireland and not sold off to the highest bidder”. He said:
“This time last year there was huge anger as irreplaceable historical documents were sold off. But twelve months on the government has not intervened and important documents are once again being sold. These include a letter from Pádraig Pearse written only hours before his execution and the Workers Republic articles handwritten by James Connolly. Such documents are vital to future generations and should be kept in the ownership of the people.
"Under current legislation the Government is able to compulsorily purchase items such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara brooch and paintings of national importance. The owners of these items are compensated by the state. However there is no legislation for the government to do this with written documents or archives.
"Last year Sinn Féin tabled an emergency motion in the Dáil to demand legislation to prevent the sale or export of such irreplaceable and significant documents or artefacts. The government refused to bring it forward. Such legislation is urgently required."