Artwork marking 100 years of Dáil Eireann to be commissioned

Oireachtas proposes paintings of women members of Dáil and Seanad

Commissioned artwork will  “commemorate 100 years of parliamentary democracy from the first Dáil Éireann”. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

Commissioned artwork will “commemorate 100 years of parliamentary democracy from the first Dáil Éireann”. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times

 

The Oireachtas is to commission two pieces of artwork to mark 100 years of Dáil Éireann – at a cost of at least €64,000.

It is proposed the paintings will be a group of current and former women members of the Dáil and a separate portrait of former and current female members of Seanad Éireann.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission on Tuesday where there was some opposition to the proposal on the grounds that there was a portrait featuring all 53 women currently in the Dáil and Seanad unveiled in March.

That painting is displayed alongside a portrait of President Michael D Higgins close to the main chamber. It features all 53 female members of the Dáil and Seanad, as well as Countess Markievicz, the first woman elected to parliament and was produced to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

The proposal considered by the Oireachtas commission on Tuesday says this would be different as it was to “commemorate 100 years of parliamentary democracy from the first Dáil Éireann”.

Artistic expertise

The Royal Irish Academy and the Office of Public Works will be asked to “provide the historic research and the artistic expertise to oversee the work”.

The brief for the paintings will be decided by a “working group of the commission on the commemorative programme for the first Dáil or the sub-committee on art”.

The overall indicative cost will not emerge until those issues have been discussed by the group.

However, it states approximately €64,000 is available from the budget for the conservation work on the house.

The artist will be selected as part of an open or invited competition. It is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

It is understood members of the Oireachtas Commission, which oversees funding for the Houses of the Oireachtas, questioned the merit in the two new portraits.