A satirical painting by Joe McNicholas entitled ‘An Irish Political Allegory’ was removed from the ‘Spring Notes’ exhibition at the Cork School of Music after complaints over some of its imagery, reported Irish Independent on 9 April 2016.
The painting includes images of seven Fianna Fáil (Republican Party) heads of government, known as Taoisigh, in various poses; including one of Charles Haughey standing bare-chested behind a topless image of Kathleen Ní Houlihan, a mythical symbol and emblem of Irish nationalism.
School’s director Dr. Geoffrey Spratt wrote in an email to McNicholas that the school cares for over 3,000 students under the age of 18 and he cannot ignore the complaints of parents and staff, who described the work “as unsuitable for those under the age of 18”, reported Irish Examiner on 7 April 2016.
McNicholas said he was “absolutely shocked” to receive the email and explained that that particular portion of the painting was how he believed Haughey should be represented: as “having his way with Ireland”.
The painting was on display at the opening of the exhibition on 5 April 2016, but was later removed.
Head of musicianship and academic studies Maria Judge said the painting was not removed due to its political content, reported Irish Independent.
Photo of painting from artist’s Facebook page
» Irish Independent – 9 April 2016:
Painting of Haughey ‘having his way with Ireland’ removed from school
» Irish Examiner – 7 April 2016:
Cork School of Music removes painting of bare-chested Charles Haughey after parents object