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Three complaints made to Monaghan school over controversial mural

Jun 29, 2021 16:06 By News Northern Sound
Three complaints made to Monaghan school over controversial mural Three complaints made to Monaghan school over controversial mural
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The Principal denied there was opposition from students and the local community.

The inclusion of Eoin O'Duffy in a mural of prominent local people in a Monaghan town school was described by one parent as an "unacceptable celebration".

ColƔiste Oiriall removed the image of the Monaghan born fascist shortly after being unveiled, but dismissed claims of backlash from the local community.

The gaelscoil unveiled a mural in April that celebrated over thirty famous people from the county, including Minister Heather Humphreys, Professor Sam McConkey and entrepreneur Martin McVicar.

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It also featured Lough Egish-born Eoin O'Duffy, a prominent IRA figure during the War of Independence, a Garda Commissioner and later a supporter of a number of fascist movements in Europe.

In May, the school principal confirmed to Northern Sound News that O'Duffy was removed from the mural, but dismissed newspaper reports that it was done on the back of opposition from students and the local community.

In emails released to Northern Sound News under the Freedom of Information Act , two parents and one past pupil voiced their anger and disgust at O'Duffy being included alongside other notable figures.

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The former student, living in Donegal and writing in Irish, said that while people should be aware of O'Duffy and fascism in Ireland, it doesn't mean portraying a positive image of them.

They continued that his inclusion tarnished the reputation of the school and Irish-medium education.

One parent said they were "most uncomfortable with such a man being presented as a role model", with the other adding it was an "unacceptable celebration of a historical figure who represented an ideology which should only be remembered with disdain".

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In response to each correspondence, a representative of the school acknowledged the image was "controversial" and that it was replaced by local composer Michael Rooney.

There were no recorded complaints by students, and consultation wasn't required because it was an "in-house art project".

In a follow up statement after the release of the emails, the principal of ColƔiste Oiriall reiterated that no comment nor complaint by the local community was received in relation to the wall mural.

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