It’s appalling that Heather Humphreys continues to be in charge of Ireland’s arts, language and heritage. Her failure to protect any of these things has been going on for far too long. She’s a disgrace to the position and her ongoing quest to redevelop and erase the historical importance of Moore Street proves this time and time again.
Humphreys always favors new business over history and obviously believes that Ireland’s heritage is less important than modern development. She has refused to protect Ireland’s history on numerous occasions, letting go of historical properties and landmark sites repeatedly but this new blunder may take the cake. She is refusing to purchase Patrick Pearse’s last surrender letter. This handwritten message was sent to the volunteers in the Four Courts garrison and it indicated they should stand down. It signaled the end of the Easter Rising and came from the man who was the figurehead of it but apparently this is not important enough for Heather Humphreys. Nevermind that this letter is vitally important to Ireland’s history. Nevermind that someone else in some other country may lose or destroy it after purchase. Nevermind that it should be preserved and placed with the other two in the National Museum immediately. She cares not about those things. She thinks the cost is too high for a single letter, while any historian or lover of Ireland would argue that it’s priceless. The thought of her not fighting for this letter mere months after the centenary celebration of the Rising makes me sick to my stomach.
There are many reasons why this piece of paper that had such a big part in Ireland’s eventual independence should be kept in Ireland and you don’t have to be a genius to figure them out. There are many ways to pressure Humphreys into finding the funds for one of the most vital documents in Irish history. (How about collecting some of those corporate taxes?) The best would be to replace her with someone who gives a damn about the arts, heritage and gaeltacht. In lieu of that, call her. Write to her. Call her superiors or fellow ministers. Call every leader or representative that you can think of. Demand that the government step in to preserve this precious and rare letter before Heather Humphreys disappears another piece of revolutionary history. And time is of the essence so do it fast. The letter will be auctioned in December. Alternately, if you have an extra couple million euros laying around, you can own this piece of history, for exactly how long it takes to hand it back to the people who deserve it the most – the Irish.
If you can’t manage that and you can’t call or visit your favorite ministers or Irish politicians for some reason, at least help spread the word. Sign this online petition, even though they are often ignored. It’s always best to do lodge complaints or petitions in person after all but if you’re like me and too far away to accomplish that – this petition is for you. It takes two seconds and every bit of pressure helps. We need to shower her with disapproval and keep her from doing this in every way we can. And once you’re done with that, head on over to Moore Street and talk to the activists there about their ongoing fight to save the last battleground of the Rising. They have a petition that needs signing too and they always need more advocates and protectors. The Irish government is slowly accomplishing what the English did not 100 years ago – they are slowly erasing the revolution that was the first step toward their freedom – even as they use it to garner tourists. It’s shameful and must be stopped. Add your voice.