A man who was putting on a “conceptual art performance” in the middle of Ennis, claiming the Holocaust was a hoax, has been sent to jail.
Dermot Mulqueen (49) of Steele’s Terrace, Ennis, was jailed for five months for breaching Section 9 of the Firearms Act and two months for breaching Section 6 of the Public Order Act.
The offences took place at lunchtime on January 23rd when Mulqueen put an axe through a television at the Daniel O’Connell monument in Ennis town centre.
In evidence at Ennis District Court, Mulqueen told Judge Patrick Durcan: “I never realised you could get arrested for swinging an axe into your own TV.”
He said the performance art show, entitled Liberation of the Mind, was carried out to launch International Holocaust Hoax Day.
Sentencing him, Judge Durcan said Mulqueen “may have a view and an interpretation of history, but it is an historical fact that the Holocaust was the greatest crime perpetrated against a section of mankind in the history of mankind”.
By his actions, he said, Mulqueen “behaved in the most offensive way, not merely towards a particular section of society but towards society generally”.
The judge said his behaviour on the day “would be regarded with abhorrence and repugnance by any reasonable minded human and by the vast, vast majority of people”.
“Mr Mulqueen was reckless and offensive in the extreme. He was gratuitously insulting not merely to a section of society who we know were most directly affected by the Holocaust but he was gratuitously insulting to most reasonably minded men and women who maintain civic society.”
He added: “I am only surprised that he has not been charged with other offences.”
Mulqueen’s solicitor, Patrick Moylan, said his client was “ not in any way racist and has no problem with the Jewish community. His views are based on something he has read and now believes and he created a work of art on the back of that”.
Twitter and Facebook
Garda Michael Daniels said Mulqueen was taking photos of what the accused called “a conceptual work of art” and uploading them to his Twitter and Facebook accounts while at the monument.
Gardaí were monitoring the event through CCTV and moved in to arrest Mulqueen after he smashed the TV.
Mr Moylan said his client “was taken aback” to be arrested in the first place. He said Mulqueen was single with no children, had no previous convictions and was on social welfare after previously working in Dublin as a taxi driver.
In his statement to gardaí, Mulqueen said: “I found out that the Holocaust was a hoax in August 2013 after coming across a video by David Cole on Auschwitz on YouTube.”
He added: “I am not a racist but I have found out that the Holocaust was a hoax and I wanted to highlight this.”
After sentence was imposed, Mulqueen was released on bail pending an appeal to the circuit court.