Calls to disband Artane School of Music ‘attention-seeking’

Cllr Mannix Flynn accused of trying to visit sins of the past on band’s present generation

A file image of members of the Artane Band playing before a GAA match. An attempt by Independent councillor Mannix Flynn to have the Artane School of Music  disbanded has been described as bordering on the ridiculous by a fellow councillor. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A file image of members of the Artane Band playing before a GAA match. An attempt by Independent councillor Mannix Flynn to have the Artane School of Music disbanded has been described as bordering on the ridiculous by a fellow councillor. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

An attempt by Independent councillor Mannix Flynn to have the Artane School of Music disbanded has been described as bordering on the ridiculous by a fellow councillor.

Mr Flynn, a former resident of St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane, has forwarded a motion to Dublin City Council calling on the school to be disbanded due to its associations with the Christian Brothers.

He had previously withdrawn a motion to the local area committee to have the name of the Artane Band changed because of its association with the industrial school.

Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí, a former lord mayor of Dublin, said the motions were “deeply unfair” to the present generation of musicians in the Artane Band.

He said Mr Flynn was seeking to visit the sins of the past on the present generation who have no connection with the industrial school which closed its doors in 1969.

Instead, Mr O’Muirí and two others have put forward a motion to the North Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council on Monday in support of both the school and the band.

The motion, which is supported by Cllr Sean Paul Mahon and Cllr Alison Gilliland, reads: “That this committee affirms its support for the Artane School of Music and its Artane Band as community-supported initiatives providing educational opportunities for aspiring musicians from Artane and further afield to develop their talents.”

Mr O’Muirí said he was standing with the “163 young band members, the 420 school of music participants and the 200-plus volunteers” who give their time to supporting the band.

‘Attention-seeking’

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey accused Mr Flynn of “attention-seeking” with a motion which he said will not go before the council for at least a year because of a backlog.

He accused Mr Flynn of grandstanding and playing to the media. “This is a further tokenistic motion. These motions are about the media and not the real issues.”

Mr Flynn’s motion will be put forward to the next meeting of Dublin City Council in October, but is unlikely to be heard and will have no legal effect in any case even if it is passed.

The motion says the school is jointly run by the Christian Brothers and the GAA but encompasses insignia and uniforms that “hark back to an age of chronic sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the religious.

“The harrowing memories of these institutions for abuse victims are regularly flaunted without care or recognition at national sporting events in Croke Park in the form of the present Artane Band.”

Artane School of Music has sought to rally support around its musicians accuing Mr Flynn of having “ no idea who the Artane Band are in 2016 and the hurt he is causing with his words and insults.”

Artane Band manager Keith Kelly said they had no intention of changing the name of the band or disbanding the school and had received “overwhelming support” from the public and local representatives the name change was floated.

“We will talk to any public representative, but Cllr Flynn has never reached out to us or sought to understand what we do now,” he said. “We are an open and transparent organisation with our child protection policy proudly on display in our school.”