An Taisce given leave to take a Judicial Review of export licences of Beit paintings

16th June 2015
Press Release

In the High Court today, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland was granted leave to take a Judicial Review of the granting of the export licences of the Beit paintings that are to go on auction today and on July 9th at Christies in London.

An Taisce’s case is that export licences were granted for these paintings by the National Gallery of Ireland, rather than the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who is charged with granting licences for the export of paintings under the Documents and Paintings (Regulation of Export) Act 1945.

Despite repeated correspondence with the Department, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Alfred Beit Foundation and Christies (London), An Taisce has not received any indication that the powers to grant export licences have lawfully been delegated to the National Gallery of Ireland.

An Taisce is seeking a decision that the export licences issued by the National Gallery are not lawful and should be quashed.

The Judicial Review is expected to be heard on July 3rd.

An Taisce's motivation in taking this Judicial Review is the upholding of the Law. This will not guarantee the return of the paintings to Ireland but it will give an opportunity for the necessary conversation between all stakeholders to seek the best means of saving Russborourgh and the Beit Collection for the Nation.

Notification of Press Conference
An Taisce, The Irish Georgian Society and speakers from School of Art History & Cultural Policy (UCD) discuss alternative ways of funding for Russborough.
Wednesday June 17th, 3 pm. Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

  1. To legally export paintings from this jurisdiction the 1945 Act (as amended) requires that the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht grant an export licence prior to the export of any painting from this jurisdiction.
  2. The 1945 Act contains no power of delegation which would allow the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to delegate that power to a third party and therefore any purported act of delegation is ultra vires the terms of the Act and the expressed legislative intent of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
  3. Notwithstanding the absence of any power to delegate, the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht allegedly delegated the power to grant export licences to the First Respondent in or around April 1985. As far as can be established this purported act of delegation was not achieved via primary or secondary legislation.
  4. espite numerous requests for clarification on the alleged act of delegation the An Taisce has been unable to identify how same was achieved.
  5. The licence granted by the Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland was therefore granted without any statutory authority and the purported act of delegation by Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Respondent to the Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland was ultra vires the power of the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.