Outrage as Dublin City Council Cancels Repeal Event at International Literature Festival

An event featuring contributors to Una Mullally’s 'Repeal the 8th' anthology has been pulled from the International Literature Festival Dublin by core funders, Dublin City Council.

Dublin City Council Pulls 8th amendment event at literature festival

“Artists must not be silenced. It’s a grim and dangerous society that does so.”

An event entitled ‘A Question of the 8th’, which has been scheduled at the International Literary Festival Dublin (ILFD) for May 21, five days before the referendum on the repeal of the eighth amendment in Ireland’s constitution, has been canceled after the festival’s core funders, Dublin City Council raised objections.

Based around queer author and journalist Una Mullally’s bestselling anthology, Repeal The 8th, the event was to have included actress and activist, Tara Flynn, poet Elaine Kirwan and spoken word artist, Emmet Kirwan, along with Mullally herself (pictured above).

In a column published in the Irish Times, Mullally said she’d received a call from the Director of ILFD who told her Dublin City Council had intervened and requested that the festival pull the event. “The festival had no option but to comply,” Mullally wrote.

The City arts officer, Ray Yeates, provided a statement saying, “Unfortunately, this event has had to be canceled at the request of Dublin City Council, who fund and manage the festival. As with other public bodies, Dublin City Council cannot use public funding to support any side or appear to support any side of a referendum campaign. Council officials are also bound by the code of conduct for local authority employees to remain politically impartial. Scheduling this event as part of a council-funded festival was considered to be inconsistent with the obligations on the council and its officials.”

“My event was about a book. It was not a campaigning event,” Mullally wrote. “If there was an anthology out there… that was reflecting Ireland from an anti-choice or religious point of view, and that had been scheduled at a literature festival, and a local authority shut it down, I would be equally outraged.”

“We should not stop people using art to discuss our stories and our society,” Mullally wrote.

“Artists must not be silenced. It’s a grim and dangerous society that does so.”

The cancellation of the event at ILFD follows the painting over of a mural supporting repeal of the eighth amendment on the wall of Project Arts Centre after the Charities Regulator intervened.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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