National Library launch

National Library launch
Sile deValera
17 January 2002

The full Troubled Images exhibition was displayed at the National Library or Ireland. Sile deValera, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, gave a short introductory speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you all here today to the opening of the “Troubled Images” poster exhibition, which has traveled here to the National Library from the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to everybody who has traveled here from the North of Ireland to attend this opening. I understand that there is a group of Friends of the Linen Hall Library here today, as well as some Linen Hall Library staff members, so welcome to all of you.

The Linen Hall Library is a somewhat similar library to the National Library, in that it is a long-established library with substantial heritage collections. I believe that these almost sister institutions should cooperate with each other and share their cultural resources. I am very pleased that the Linen Hall Library chose the National Library of Ireland as the first venue in the ‘Troubled Images’ exhibition tour, a tour envisaged to encompass other venues in Ireland, Britain and the United States.

The 62 posters in the exhibition present images of a political, though non-party, nature and arise out of the traumatic experiences of both communities during the period of the ‘troubles’, a period which I am sure we all hope has passed into history. Some of these images may be controversial in their portrayal of the violence that has occurred, some may inspire hope for the future, but together they provide an insight into our recent history.

The mission statement of the exhibition indicates an intention to “include the most memorable posters in terms of historical significance, visual impact and artistic style, incorporating as wide a range of opinion as possible on the major events, issues and individuals of the past three decades.” I must say that the exhibition indeed meets the very high standards necessary to meet these criteria.

The dedication, evenhandedness and sensitivity displayed by the staff of the Linen Hall Library in achieving a balance and providing fair representation to all sides in the extremely complex political and social context of the North of Ireland is indeed to be commended. I am sure that this dedication will be welcomed by generations to come.

Finally, I would like to say that this exhibition is a fantastic example of the recent evolution in thinking about heritage. This new thinking sees our heritage as one which we all participate in creating, and one that we may all partake of, rather than falling within the domain of an elite.

Ladies and gentlemen thank you all very much indeed.