An Taisce July 2015 eZine

1st July 2015
Can we draw you special attention to the 'Heads in the Sand' event at 11 am Sandymount Strand this Saturday

Climate Change: the Government have their Heads in the Sand

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Sandymount Strand

Stop Climate Chaos - of which An Taisce is a member - is organising:

May 2015 was the hottest May globally since records began. So far 2015 is the hottest year on record. Climate change is real, it's here and it's not going away, unless we do something about it...

Join us for a mass photo stunt on Sandymount Strand calling on the government to stop burying their heads in the sand and start tackling climate change now.

Be there at 11am SHARP to make sure you've got time to bury your head in the sand!!!

Meeting point is here: https://www.google.ie/maps/place/53°19'41.2%22N+6°12'29.7%22W/@53.3298642,-6.2116047,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0?hl=en-GB

Bring your buckets, spades, family and friends and help us to get the message out that the time for action is now. We can't leave it to future generations to clean up our mess.

In 5 months a meeting in Paris will see world leaders agree to a new global deal on climate change. So far its looks like this deal will not be enough to secure a safe future for people or the planet.

It's time the government got their Heads out of the Sand. Be part of the solution and join us for the first of many events over the coming months calling for urgent action on climate change.

Please take public transport if you can - both Sandymount and Sydney Parade Dart stations are only 1km away from the beach and buses 1 (from O'Connell St) and 47 (Fleet St) pass close by too!

P.S. You might like to bring a towel to protect your head!

See https://www.facebook.com/events/942434432468166/

Guided Walk: Industrial Heritage of Ramelton Co DL Aug 30th @ 3 p.m.

Local Association Event
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Gamble's Square Ramelton

Guided tour taking in the surviving physical remains of Ramelton's industrial past from its bleaching green, disused mills and deserted quays. Guide: Deirdra Friel ( Donegal Heritage Trails) A leisurely and scenic walk in this Heritage Town.

The Donegal Association of An Taisce is privileged that Deirdra has put together this tour especially to coincide with the Industrial Heritage theme of this year’s National Heritage Week. This is a leisurely and enjoyable walk that never strays far from the River Lennon. We look at some of the buildings that are connected with the linen industry in the town while walking along the tree lined Mall with its roses in full bloom. We cross the bridge and walk along the Green Lane to Kelly’s Mill where corn was milled. We return along the footpath beside the public road. We finish back at the quays looking at the warehouses and how the corn and linen were exported.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
free
Cost Non Members: 
free

An Taisce calls on TDs to propose amendments to the weak Climate Action Bill

2nd June 2015
Press Release

In the face of figures from the EPA that show we are unlikely to meet our Climate Change Targets and Ban Ki-moon’s call for ‘Ireland to do more to curb Climate Change’ An Taisce is calling upon TDs to put forward amendments to strengthen the Climate Action Bill.

The Climate Action Bill currently going through the Oireachtas is weakly drafted, fails to ensure existing targets are met and further delays meaningful action. The Bill is now scheduled for Committee stage on Tuesday 9th June. An Taisce and other NGOs involved in ‘Stop Climate Chaos (SCC)’ are calling on all TDs to put forward a series of amendments to ensure the Bill contains legally enforceable targets.

An Taisce fully supports the SCC campaign for amendments, and believes that, due to the scale and urgency of the action required, the Bill should go much further and include a hard mitigation pathway commitment - i.e. an explicit quantitative claim on the dwindling global cumulative carbon budget. Further, it should include an explicit acknowledgement and policy measures to ensure that the bulk of remaining fossil hydrocarbons are left in the ground.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released updated greenhouse gas emission figures [Ref 1&2] clearly showing that current Government policies are committing Ireland to a dangerous high emissions future and are manifestly failing to chart a low carbon pathway for Ireland. The EPA gives ‘worst case’ and ‘best case’ figures but An Taisce see little likelihood that we will do much better than the worst case projections, which show that Ireland will miss its 2020 target by 11 percentage points.

The new EPA Projections report states:

Ireland is not on track towards decarbonising the economy in the long term in line with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 and will face steep challenges post-2020 unless further polices and measures are put in place over and above those envisaged between now and 2020.

Speaking for An Taisce, Charles Stanley Smith said:

For the period 2013 to 2020 Ireland, as part of the EU, has agreed to make legally binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions but these EPA figures show that this Government has failed to apply the measures necessary to achieve any overall cuts at all over this period, let alone the cuts actually required.

In fact emissions rates from Ireland will increase ever more rapidly toward 2020 and beyond – seriously endangering efforts to meet the new and more challenging EU targets that will be set for 2030.

Inadequate climate policy is increasing risks to the Irish economy, imposing impossible policy choices on future Governments and increasing Ireland’s national responsibility for global climate change.

An Taisce urge all political leaders in Ireland to address the critical and dangerous climate change challenge to our future economic and personal well-being as a matter of national priority. The best international advice, agreed with by Ireland’s own international declarations, says that cutting total emissions year-on-year starting now is by far the least costly course.

A better Climate Bill is needed and is still possible but we need to act quickly.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
John Gibbons, Climate Change Committee, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2332689
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

  1. Stop Climate Chaos proposed amendments
  2. Looking at key sectors for the period from 2013 to 2020: Energy emissions will rise by 11%, agriculture by over 2% and transport by a shocking 19%. Only in the built sectors are some reductions being made. All of these areas are directly affected by government policy but the EPA figures clearly show that government policy is entirely failing to cut emissions from the key sectors:
  3. In the Energy sector, climate policy realities require very rapid decarbonisation of electricity generation, yet policy is failing to plan definite shutdowns of peat and coal and peat generators. Targets for renewables such as wind and solar are very likely to be missed. The continued burning of dirty domestic peat and imported coal for power, despite the known, severe economic costs due to health and climate impacts, is misguided and unacceptable.
  4. Agricultural emissions are high due to large numbers of beef and dairy cattle and will increase due to a projected huge expansion of the dairy sector, overall producing increased emissions of methane and nitrous oxide (both potent greenhouse gases). Despite being largely for exported production, Ireland is responsible for these increased emissions from agriculture. [Ref 3]
  5. Transport emission increases reflect a complete failure to achieve sustainable transport policy targets, which are now largely ignored by national government. The ongoing failure of dispersed planning requires roads and services to commuter settlements and one-off rural houses [Ref 4]. Further poor planning and more roads increasing fossil fuel dependency appear to be set government policy.
  6. Since Government entirely failed to divide the overall 2020 target reductions among individual sectors according to achievability, it can only be assumed that all sectors, including agriculture and transport, have a target of reducing their emissions by 20% by 2020 relative to 2005. Neither agriculture nor transport, were given a waiver from achieving a 20% reduction.
  7. Currently, the Departments responsible for agriculture and transport mistakenly appear to think that maintaining emissions at 2005 levels is enough to count toward for mitigation action. This view is completely unfounded. Far more serious policy aimed at real achievement of immediate cuts starting now is required.
  8. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, states: “Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”. Ireland has signed agreements committing to emission cuts in accord with science and equity, in line with limiting global surface warming to 2ºC, but these cuts are not being achieved.

REFERENCES:

  1. EPA (2015) Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2014-2035
  2. EPA (2015) Emission Projections 2014-2035 press release
  3. An Taisce (2015) Response to the DAFM Mitigation document
  4. An Taisce (2015) Principles for Sustainable Rural Settlement
  5. An Taisce (2015) National Roads Authority crashing into climate policy

This could be our last chance to fix the Climate Bill

3rd June 2015
Report

In less than a week's time the Climate Bill will go through another crucial stage in the Dáil. This is make or break.... It could be the last chance we have to fix the Bill before it becomes law. Tell Minister Alan Kelly you want to see the amendments he promised now .

The Minister has told the Dáil he is considering possible amendments to the Bill. We need to make sure the changes he makes are the right ones, by clearly indicating how much we plan to reduce emissions by 2050, by ensuring that the independence of the Expert Advisory Council is explicitly guaranteed and by committing to climate justice as a guiding principle.

Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Ireland to do more to tackle climate change. He called on Ireland to "align its climate effort with its admirable engagement on hunger”. It’s time fo r the Minister to step up to this challenge. Ask Alan Kelly to strenghten the Climate Bill and keep his promise to have the Bill passed into law before the summer break.

It's almost three months since the draft law was first debated in the Dáil and we're still waiting for the Government's proposed changes. Time is ticking and the crucial UN summit in Paris is now less than six months away. Countries like Ireland, with high emissions and higher historical responsibility, have to demonstrate a credible commitment to climate action if we are to build the trust required for a global deal in Paris.

The only thing that has kept the Climate Bill on track to become law at all is the continuous pressure from campaigners like you. We need one last push to make it a climate law we can be proud of. Please sign the petition now and share it with your friends.

Thank you

An Taisce Climate Change Committee This petition is organised by 'Stop Climate Chaos' and Taisce is a member of SCC.

Despite the IFA’s claims, the bird nesting season does not end early – An Taisce

8th June 2015
Press Release

Once more the IFA [1] claim that ‘There is a real basis for a shorter closed period, as the nesting season now occurs earlier’ after meeting Minister Humphreys to persuade her to shorten the restricted period under the current review of permitted hedge cutting and gorse burning dates by her Department.

Once more An Taisce asks the IFA to release the scientific evidence that they are using to justify altering the current hedge cutting and gorse burning dates.

Further, their argument that changing the hedge cutting season will improve road safety is false. Under the current legislation hedges can already be cut if there is a potential health and safety issue. For instance, enlightened Local Authorities ensure that only a short distance either side of junctions is cut for road safety and the rest is left.

Given the dramatic decline in farm biodiversity since the 1970's this is an extremely negative stance for the IFA to take and it is completely against the Green image that the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia are trying to portray.

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

NOTES: [1] http://www.ifa.ie/ifa-welcomes-minister-humphreys-commitment-to-address-hedge-cutting-and-gorse-burning-dates/#.VXWpOtLBzGd

Notification of Press Conference – Betrayal of Trust: The Sale of the Beit Paintings

12th June 2015
Press Release

Press Conference

When: 3.00 pm - Wednesday 17th June
Where: Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8
Contact: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

As part of ongoing efforts to stop the sale of paintings from the historic Beit collection, and to discuss alternative plans for funding Russborough, a press conference has been organised by the School of Art History & Cultural Policy (UCD), the Irish Georgian Society, and An Taisce.

It will take place in Tailors’ Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8, on Wednesday, 17 June, at 3 pm. Among the speakers will be Ian Lumley (An Taisce), Dr John Loughman (UCD), Dr Michael Ryan (former Director, Chester Beatty Library), and a representative of the Irish Georgian Society.

As a result of a remarkable act of generosity, one of the greatest of all private collections of Old Master paintings, formed in England by a German entrepreneur whose fortune was made in South Africa, has come to rest in Ireland. In 1976 Sir Alfred Beit, Bart., set up the Foundation which bears his name to ensure that his collection remains in perpetuity in the magnificent setting of Russborough at the foot of the Wicklow Hills.

These are the words of Professor Christopher Brown (former Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), writing in 1984. Three years later Sir Alfred and Lady Clementine Beit decided to bequeath seventeen of the most important paintings from their collection to the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI), while the kernel of their collection (30-40 pictures) remained at Russborough. It was hoped that the NGI paintings could occasionally be exhibited, with the rest of the historic Beit collection, at Russborough.

Sadly, recent actions by the Alfred Beit Foundation (ABF) have betrayed both the legacy of the Beits’ extraordinary benevolence to their adopted country and the trust invested in the Foundation by the Irish people to care for this collection. On 9 July six magnificent paintings, including two works by Peter Paul Rubens, will be sold by the ABF at Christie’s, London. Two 19th-century British landscapes and a drawing by Francois Boucher have been consigned to other sales to be held in June and July by the same auction house. In addition, an architectural painting by Jacques de Lajoüe (1687-1761), which had hung together with its pair in the Saloon at Russborough until last year, was apparently sold to a private individual by the ABF for a reported sum of €500,000. These recent sales, or proposed sales, are the latest in the liquidation of what the ABF has called “non-core assets”. In 2006 and 2013 the ABF disposed of collections of Italian Renaissance sculpture and Chinese porcelain.

The sale of these paintings will be an immeasurable loss to the national cultural patrimony. While some of these artists are represented in the National Gallery of Ireland, most of the paintings going under the hammer are either better in quality or are of a different type to those in our national collections. The ABF’s decision will also take us further away from Sir Alfred Beit’s aim in establishing his foundation in 1976, and opening the doors of Russborough to the public two years later – to make the house and its contents a centre for the study and appreciation of the fine arts in Ireland.

It is not too late to halt the sale and to consider other models of funding for Russborough House.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786 email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
phone: +353 1 454 1786
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

An Taisce calls on Minister Humphreys to investigate 'Private' sale of Beit's Painting by Jaques de Lajoue

14th June 2015
Press Release

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland has sent a formal letter to the Irish Minister for Arts Heritage and The Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys requesting investigation of the circumstances under which one of a pair of widely admired early 18th. Century French paintings "THE CABINET OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES" by JACQUES DE LAJOUE, has been sold privately by the Alfred Beit Foundation.

The private sale occurred in advance of the April public announcement of the controversial export and auctioning of 6 other major works by Christies on 9th. July. This raises the most profound issues relating to the operation of the Alfred Beit Foundation.

The bequest by Sir Alfred Beit of 17 masterpieces to the National Gallery of Ireland combined with the remainder of the Beit collections and the magnificent house at Russborough, Co Wicklow, to the Alfred Beit Foundation is one of the greatest art bequests to any country in modern times. It is Ireland's equivalent of the Wallace Collection or Iveagh bequest at Kenwood in London, or the Frick in New York.

The proposed sale on the 9th July by Christie's London of six significant paintings including two works by Rubens, a David Teniers 11, two Francesco Guardi works, and a work recognized as the masterpiece of Adriaen Jansz van Ostade is a subject of growing controversy. It destroys the integrity of the historic Beit collection and is exposing Ireland to reputational damage internationally in the protection and management of cultural heritage.

We refer to recent coverage in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/arts/design/sale-of-old-masters-sets-off-an-outcry-in-ireland.html?_r=0

There is also a specific issue relating to the function of the Department of Arts Heritage and The Gaeltacht with regard to the governance of the National Gallery of Ireland. This relates to the combined role of Sean Rainbird as Director of the National Gallery of Ireland and as a Trustee of the Alfred Beit Foundation.

In addition to the issue of the paintings placed in the proposed July Christie's sale, we understand that a major painting has already been sold earlier this year in a private transaction for a reported 500,000 euro. This is one of a pair of early 18th Century works by the French artist Jacques De Lajoue "The Cabinet of Physical Sciences". This represents an artistic tragedy because of its splitting from its companion.

We refer to the report in the Irish Times of June 13th. 2015 on the issue [See note 2]. This quoted documents about an Alfred Beit Foundation Board meeting seen by The Irish Times which quoted as follows "Mr Rainbird suggested that the offer for one of the paintings represented a potential windfall that should be looked at very seriously by the Alfred Beit Foundation". It was further stated that in an email sent to The Irish Times the director stated that the two de Lajouy paintings in the Beit collection were "not a pair".

We request that all issues relating to the role of Sean Rainbird as the Director of the National Gallery of Ireland and as a Trustee of the Alfred Beit Foundation with regard to the private sale of the De Lajoue be investigated.

Notification of Press Conference – Betrayal of Trust: The Sale of the Beit Paintings: Wednesday March 17th, 3 pm. Tailors' Hall http://www.antaisce.org/articles/notification-of-press-conference-%E2%80%93-betrayal-of-trust-the-sale-of-the-beit-paintings

ENDS For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

  1. More on Private Beit Sale of De Lajoue https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKEMmRMTmZCMlVGaDA/view?usp=sharing
  2. The flight of the Beits, Rosita Boland, The Irish Times, June 13th. http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/art-and-design/visual-art/the-flight-of-the-beits-1.2247596
  3. Notification of Press Conference – Betrayal of Trust: The Sale of the Beit Paintings: Wednesday March 17th, 3 pm. Tailors' Hall http://www.antaisce.org/articles/notification-of-press-conference-%E2%80%93-betrayal-of-trust-the-sale-of-the-beit-paintings

Clerys closure highlights need for Planning Intervention

15th June 2015
Press Release

Planning policy failure undermining Dublin and other urban centers

An Taisce is seeking the intervention of both the Minister for Environment Community and Local Government Alan Kelly and the Minister for Transport Sport Paschal Donohoe on the planning policy failure which has contributed to the Clerys closure.

Current Government polices on national planning and transport by the Departments of the Environment and Transport are supposed to curtail further car based out of town retail development which damages and undermines urban centres.

These policies are not being applied.

In 2009 the Department of Transport published “Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future – A new Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2020” which set out 49 specific actions including under 2 : “a general restriction of the future development of out of town retail centres except in exceptional circumstances and consideration of a similar requirement that parking charges be introduced for most existing centres.” This policy has not been implemented. The Inter Departmental working group which was meant to enforce the Smarter Travel actions and have biannual reviews from 2010 has not been established.

Despite Retail Planning Guidelines published by the Department of the Environment which are supposed to protect urban centres, local councils and An Bord Pleanála are continuing to make decisions expanding car based motorway orientated retail space. In the Greater Dublin Area, the Board approved major expansion of retail space at the Kildare Village and Liffey Valley Shopping centre in recent years.

The continuing failure of Government to address parking is undermining the physical, social and economic base of urban centres.

The current review of the National Spatial Strategy for a new National Planning Policy Framework, which will be on a statutory basis, needs to set out a positive vision with legally enforceable planning guidance for walkable urban and rural communities, with a significant shift from car dependency to cycling and public transport. Free urban edge parking must be curtailed with a charging regime to incentivise modal shift against car use.

In the interim An Taisce will be seeking the protection of the retail use in Clerys, and would oppose any proposal for office or other uses in the upper floors.

ENDS For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Offocer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

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.

Press Conference - Tomorrow June 17th 3pm - Saving the Beit Paintings for the Nation

16th June 2015
Press Release

Notification of Press Conference

When: 3.00 pm - Wednesday 17th June
Where: Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8
Contact: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

Over the last few weeks that has been an outpouring of public and media concern about the proposed sale of the Beit paintings and we believe that now is the time for all stakeholders to come together to seek the best means of saving Russborourgh and the Beit Collection for the Nation.

Among the speakers will be Ian Lumley (An Taisce), Dr John Loughman (UCD), Dr Michael Ryan (former Director, Chester Beatty Library), and a representative of the Irish Georgian Society.

ENDS

For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Call for delay of sale of Alfred Beit Paintings to allow imaginative solutions to be found

17th June 2015
Press Release

A joint Press Conference organised by An Taisce, UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and Irish Georgian Society, called urgently for a halt of the sale of the Alfred Beit paintings at Christie’s on July 9th so as to give time for everybody, the Government, the NGOs, the Academics, Tourism Interests, the Alfred Beit Foundation and other willing participants to work together for an imaginative solution, which will finally realise the Beits’ vision of Russborough as a centre of the arts and fulfill their frequently expressed desire that the collection remain intact.

The Government, in the form of the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or even the Taoiseach himself, was called upon to contact the Chair of Christie's to halt the sale of these paintings that have been left in trust for the Nation so that time is available for all to work together to save the collection along with Russborough House and Demense.

Further a call was made to anyone that can help save these paintings once more for the Nation, to come together and work with the group from An Taisce, UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and Irish Georgian Society. There are other means of funding the annual costs of Russborough, that do not require the selling of any of the collection.

The 60+ attendees from organisations such as Aosdána; An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland; The Irish Georgian Society; Trinity College, Dublin; The School of Art History and Cultural Policy of University College Dublin, Dublin; The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland; The Irish Association of Art Historians; The Irish Antique Dealers Association and The Irish Museums Association; and members of the general public agreed to the following motions:

Motion 1: We note the irredeemable loss

We deeply regret the proposed sale of paintings from the Beit collection at Christie’s in London on 9 July. This sale would be an irredeemable loss to Ireland’s cultural patrimony and a betrayal of the legacy of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit. This sale would also discourage any future philanthropist from leaving collections in Trust for the People of Ireland.

Motion2: Postpone the sale

We ask the trustees of the Alfred Beit Foundation to postpone the sale. This will allow time for an imaginative solution to be found which will finally realise the Beits’ vision of Russborough as a centre of the arts and fulfill their frequently expressed desire that the collection remain intact.

Motion 3: Work together for the solution

We are all willing to work partnership with the Government and NGOs in the heritage sector and others nationally and internationally with the enthusiasm to realise the Beits’ vision

Motion 4: Introduce a ‘Code of ethics’

We note that the International Council of Museums code of ethics, which is the world standard for custodians of collections, including those held in historic houses, states that:

“The removal of an object or specimen from a museum collection must only be undertaken with a full understanding of the significance of the item, its character (whether renewable or non-renewable), legal standing, and any loss of public trust that might result from such action,”

and that

“Each museum should have a policy defining authorized methods for permanently removing an object from the collections through donation, transfer, exchange, sale, repatriation, or destruction, and that allows the transfer of unrestricted title to any receiving agency. Complete records must be kept of all deaccessioning decisions, the objects involved, and the disposal of the object. There will be a strong presumption that a deaccessioned item should first be offered to another museum.”

Motion 5. A better law on the export of cultural heritage

The sale has highlighted the inadequacy of the current framework which regulates the sale overseas of Ireland’s cultural patrimony. An urgent updating of Irish export law on cultural heritage to the best European standards is required. Specifically, implementation of the existing unused provisions of the National Cultural Institutions act 1997 with regard to scheduling items and collections for export control.

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

NOTES:

The importance of the group of paintings cannot be overstated. It is clearly apparent from the Christie’s catalogue that these are some of the most desirable old master paintings to have come to the market in recent years.

While much attention has focused on the two paintings by Rubens, one formerly owned by Sir Joshua Reynolds, all of the works are significant.

To take just one example, this is how the lengthy catalogue entry for the Teniers begins:

First documented in 1735, the Beit Kermesse has long been heralded as one of the jewels in the Teniers oeuvre and one of the most successful treatments of the artist’s most popular subject. Its provenance alone is testament to its enormous appeal, passing successively through some of the greatest French Old Master collections of the 18th and early 19th century, from the Marquis de Brunoy, to Antoine Dutarte, Lucien Bonaparte and the Comte de Pourtalès. Alfred Beit bought the Kermesse in 1894 from John Walter, of Bearwood, on the trusted recommendation of his advisor Wilhem von Bode. A beautifully preserved, multi-figural work painted on copper, it remains today perhaps the most important Kermesse by Teniers still in private hands.

Prof. John Sweeney & Fr. Sean MacDonagh review the Pope’s Encyclical for An Taisce

18th June 2015
Press Release

Professor John Sweeney former President of An Taisce and Ireland’s top Climate Scientist and Fr. Sean MacDonagh, so long a leading Catholic environmental voice and friend of An Taisce combined to write “Cry of the Earth” for the Irish Bishops, which was provided to Cardinal Turkson, the main organiser of the Encyclical.

On reviewing the Encyclical for An Taisce, they said

“The Pope’s message is highly relevant to Ireland. It is a reminder of the urgent and compelling need for courageous political leadership to see off short term powerful interest groups in putting in place a legislative regime that is not simply a minimalist effort. It is also a stark reminder that climate change mitigation should not simply involve an economist-centred approach, but one that reflects the global as well as local interests of climate justice.”

The full text of their review for An Taisce

Laudato Si

The Papal Encyclical Laudato Si, or Praised Be is so titled after a famous prayer by St. Francis of Assisi and reflects the commitment of Pope Francis to the themes of environmental stewardship and climate change. In it he calls for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality. This eagerly awaited encyclical from the first Pontiff from the Developing World brings immense moral authority to the requirement, especially by developed countries to address in a meaningful way the growing threat of climate change. In what is an endorsement of the environmental movement from the world’s oldest and largest international organisation, Pope Francis, a trained chemist, calls for urgent action to develop policies to reduce greenhouse gases, including moving away from fossil fuels and developing renewable energy sources.

The Encyclical follows on from a number of comments by previous Popes on the subject and emphasises that climate change is not simply an economic issue, but one with immense moral and ethical dimensions. In the lead-up to the crucial Paris Conference in November, when a global agreement is hoped for, the Encyclical provides a powerful contribution. The Pope calls for urgent and far reaching cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and stresses the need for an internationally supervised agreement to ensure national and local efforts deliver on their commitments. He emphasises the need to move away from a solely economics-based view of the natural world and reminds us that it is essentially a moral and ethical problem. Our disconnect with the natural world is leading, he says, to an ecological crisis of our own making as out ‘throw away’ society destroys ‘our common home’.

The main theme of the Encyclical is that of climate justice, essentially that the burdens imposed by the main greenhouse gas emitters should be recompensed, that the polluter should pay principle be recognised. This is highly relevant to Ireland, which has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates in the world. It is also relevant to the current Climate and Low Carbon Development Bill, currently making its way through the Oireachtas. The Pope is particularly critical of the failings of political leadership and praises the work of non governmental organisations and civil society groups in holding politicians, paralysed by vested interest groups into inaction, to account.

The Irish bishops have also been prominent in addressing this issue through their recent project/pastoral letter entitled: “Cry of the Earth” prepared in conjunction with Trocaire. Indeed the two principal authors of this document: Fr. Sean McDonagh and Professor John Sweeney are aware that their work was provided to Cardinal Turkson, the main organiser of the encyclical. A major conference on Climate Justice supported by Trocaire, University and St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, timed to coincide with the encyclical, will take place in Maynooth next week [Note 1].

Given the emphasis of the encyclical on climate justice, It is ironic that Irish politicians have refused to accept modest amendments designed to make the bill an effective instrument to tackle Ireland’s contribution to adverse climate change impacts. It is particularly ironic, given the worldwide attention on climate justice, that the government vetoed an amendment to include mention of climate justice in the Bill as recently as last week. It is also regrettable that Ireland refuses to express in its legislation a target for greenhouse gas reduction as far away as 2050, a year that most other countries specify in their legislation.

The Pope’s message is highly relevant to Ireland. It is a reminder of the urgent and compelling need for courageous political leadership to see off short term powerful interest groups in putting in place a legislative regime that is not simply a minimalist effort. It is also a stark reminder that climate change mitigation should not simply involve an economist-centred approach, but one that reflects the global as well as local interests of climate justice.

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

NOTES:

  1. http://www.trocaire.org/climate-justice-2015

Submission to European Commission on Agri-Emissions, Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

19th June 2015
Submission Summary

An Taisce's submission to the Directorate General on Climate Action regarding greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)

The intensification of agriculture in Ireland as well as the importance of peatlands and wetlands for carbon sequestration are key themes.

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Meath Association eZine Report - July 2015

1st July 2015
Report

Despite torrential rain members of the Meath Association had a charming delightful visit to Ballymurrin Quaker Homestead, Kilbride, County Wicklow, courtesy of Philip and Delphine Geoghegan in May. The stone farmstead was built by the Quakers in 1668 and the premises has underwent several extensions, however the main house still retains many of its original features including the forge with beehive chimney and clay canopy, stone bake ovens and the Meeting Room. The farmstead also has a single storey cottage which marks the earliest settlement on the site and a Quaker family graveyard.

Philip gave a very insightful talk on past inhabitants of the house including William Bates who resided there in the 1670s, who later following imprisonment emigrated to America and leased land from William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Further details on bookings for the house can be obtained on the website: www.ballymurrinquakerfarmstead.eu.

Following a tour of the house and lunch Philip guided us to Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens to see the stunning giant Himalayan rhododendrons walkways which had been planted by the Acton family from the 1850s onwards under the guidance of David Moore, curator of the Botanic Gardens, Dublin, followed by his son Sir Frederick Moore.

Philip Quested a volunteer with the Botanic Gardens gave a talk on the exotic tree varieties on the estate including yew, North American conifers and Chilean trees. Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens are open to the public and further details can be viewed on www.botanicgardens.ie.

Jean Carr, Chairperson of the Meath Association attended Patricia Oliver’s retirement celebration in Tailors Hall on 4th June. It was a very special occasion and we are very proud of Patricia & her achievements here in Meath. She has left a great legacy for the Green School Program and the other environmental projects Patricia was involved with.

Many of our members attended the Waterloo Picnic at Dangan, Summerhill, Co. Meath on 20th June which was organised by Christopher Gray and family to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the great battle. Following a picnic of spit roast pig in glorious sunshine, on the eve of midsummer’s eve Antelope Productions, the Delmaine String Quartet and Credo provided an evening performance with Michael James Ford and Gary Jermyn recalling the battle. The Obelisk which stands at over 36 feet high and recently restored, provided a wonderful backdrop to the stage. There were originally 25 obelisks but only 2 remain. A clearing in the Meath meadow’s hedge enabled one a scenic view of the surrounding countryside and counties and the ruins of Dangan Castle, the childhood home of the Duke of Wellington.

There is an excellent example of thatched cottage restoration in Duleek with the utilisation of Irish thatch by an Irish company, preserving another vernacular thatched cottage for the county. If any of our members notice other renovation projects let us know by contacting the secretary at memon1997@gmail.com or any other members of An Taisce.

There was a talk and reception in Ardbraccan House on Friday 12th May by kind invite of Canon John Clarke which gave an overview of the relationship of Ardbraccan House to Navan Church of Ireland Parishes. Aardbraccan House is a large Palladian house and was the residence of the Church of Ireland Lord Bishop of Meath during the 1800s.

Plea for reports

1st July 2015
Report

The eZine is published at the start of every month - can we request Local Associations and anyone else that wants a report included to email ezine@antaisce.org with their report.