Watch: TD accused of political stunt as she unfurls Repeal poster in Dáil

Watch: TD accused of political stunt as she unfurls Repeal poster in Dáil
Cian O’Brien, Artistic Director of Project Arts Centre paint over the Maser Repeal mural follow an order to remove it by the Charities Regulator

A controversial Repeal the Eighth poster has been unfurled in the Dáil.

Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger ignored calls of "refrain" and held up an image of a mural recently removed from a Dublin arts centre.

Ms Coppinger told TDs: "We should not allow political censorship."

The Repeal the Eighth mural, by the artist Maser, had been painted on a wall of the Project Arts Centre in Templebar. Following complaints, the charities regulator ordered that it be removed for breaching rules.

A spokesperson for the centre said: “I can confirm that the LoveBoth campaign submitted a request to install a mural at Project Arts Centre.

"They were invited to submit a proposal in relation to the artwork they were proposing and information relating to the artist they would be working with.

"To date Project Arts Centre has received no such proposal from the LoveBoth Campaign.”

Speaking during Leaders' Questions, Ms Coppinger said: "The irony is that there is a proliferation of 'No' posters which are offensive and upsetting, they demonise women and make them invisible, but they are also blatantly scientifically inaccurate.

"Nobody is advocating they be removed. But people are wondering why is it the most important thing to take down the Maser mural and leave this stuff up there unchallenged by the State?"

Political opponents heckled that the move was a political stunt.

Dáil Speaker Pat "the Cope" Gallagher also reprimanded Ms Coppinger: "You can't do that and you know it is wrong to do that."

Irish citizens are being asked to vote on changes to Ireland's strict abortion laws in a referendum next month.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed the Maser mural may have become more popular as a result of being removed.

He said: "I don't find the mural in any way offensive but I don't think it is murals or posters that is going to change people's minds on this issue.

"I think what we need is proper information, independent information like we are getting now from the referendum committee."

Reacting to the controversy yesterday the pro-life LoveBoth campaign said that it felt if publicly funded buildings are going to be used to advertise either side in the abortion referendum, then they felt the only fair thing to do is to allow both sides equal time and space.

"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," said LoveBoth spokesperson Cora Sherlock.

"It’s important to say that LoveBoth had nothing to do with this decision ... 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."

Ms Sherlock went on: "Perhaps the artist Maser was trying to be ironic by painting a picture of a heart ... people must know that the first thing abortion does is to stop the beating heart of a small unborn child."

- PA & Digital Desk

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