An incident in which a large Sinn Féin banner was displayed at a state heritage site for use in a political video was reported to the gardaí.
Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) – the agency that manages the site in Co Donegal – called the incident “totally inappropriate”.
The banner, which read ‘A united Ireland is for everyone – Let’s talk about it’, included the Sinn Féin logo and was placed in the center of the Grianán of Aileach ringfort in Co Donegal, with a video shared on social media .
A similar video featured the Hill of Tara in Co Meath, although it is not clear whether a banner was placed there or if these are heritage site images that have been edited to include the banner.
The OPW operates both sites and its policy does not permit their use to promote political messages. He says he contacted Sinn Féin to ask him to discourage such behavior in the future.
Mr O’Donovan said: “The use of Irish national monuments and heritage sites for political purposes is totally inappropriate and this incident should not have happened.”
The Fine Gael minister added: “OPW guidelines are clear that no politically motivated filming is allowed and the case has been referred to the gardaí.”
A spokesperson for Sinn Féin said: “Members involved were not aware of any restrictions in place regarding photography on the site. The local organization has been informed. He did not say whether a real banner had been placed on Tara Hill or whether it was an altered image of the heritage site circulating online.
An OPW statement said: “A Garda Siochána is aware of the incident in Grianán of Aileach.
“The OPW is not aware of anyone who has placed a similar banner on Tara Hill. The image in a currently circulating tweet may be a Hill of Tara stock image that has been edited to include the banner.
He also said: “There is a long-standing OPW policy that such sites should not be used for any form of advertising or promotion, including political messages.
“A review of the authorization requests indicates that authorization has not been requested or issued for this activity. “
The statement said: “This office has no information on who placed the banners on these sites, but the logo of a political party was visible in both images.
“The OPW wrote to the party and asked for any help it could give to discourage such behavior in the future in order to prevent others from following this example and to protect heritage sites from further risk. to be damaged in some way. “