Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Arts Council Publication.


asked the Taoiseach if he is aware of a publication by An Chomhairle Ealaíon calledModern Irish Painting in which the 1916-22 war against the British is described as a senseless war; and, if so, what action he intends to take in regard to this publication in view of the fact that the Government appointed six nominees on the council.

Under section 3 of the Arts Act, 1951, it is a matter for An Chomhairle Ealaíon, by such means and in such manner as they think fit, to stimulate public interest in the arts, to promote the appreciation and improve the standards of the arts and to organise exhibitions of works of art.

I have seen a copy of the publication mentioned which is a catalogue of An Chomhairle Ealaíon's travelling exhibition of modern Irish paintings: the words referred to are contained in an introduction to the works of the late Jack B. Yeats contributed over his own name by the writer concerned, who—it is understood from the council—is an authority on the artist's works. The council inform me that the inclusion of the introduction in the catalogue does not, in the circumstances, imply any responsibility by the council for the views expressed therein, that these opinions are the writer's own and that, as may be inferred from the context of the words, the writer's adverse views on war are of a general nature and are not related only to the history of this country.

Would the Taoiseach agree that the words "senseless war" refer to the 1916-1922 war in Ireland; and, as the Arts Council are sponsoring this tour of works of art in Scandinavian countries, that they should have edited this publication so as not to give a false impression?

I agree with the Deputy's suggestion that the reference is obviously to the 1916-22 period. I agree also it should have been edited. I believe it was, in fact, but that because the person who edited it thought the writer's views should not be abridged in any way, he left the reference in the script. I think it was unfortunate and that it should have been excised.