A KILKENNY woman who now lives in Germany says that the “Faces of Ireland” portraits displayed in Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport have a few faces that travellers returning home might be less than delighted to see, while others who might be more welcoming are banished to less-visible locations.
“I know this is not the biggest problem anyone in Ireland has to deal with, but it is irksome, and I bet to more people than me – especially after ‘the (Mahon Tribunal) report’ was published! And besides, this problem won’t cost a billion or 10 to sort out, like a lot of the other problems we have to deal with in Ireland,” Rosaleen Crotty-Ehinger wrote to the Kilkenny People.
“It all started the end of last year when I arrived into Terminal 2 late one night on a flight from Zurich,” wrote Ms Crotty-Ehinger, who lives on Lake Konstanz in southern Germany.
“Although I was under pressure to make the last Kavanagh’s bus to Kilkenny that night, the long, long walk from plane to bus was indeed a healthy exercise break between the two. No, all that was manageable. What really set me off was the picture!”
The picture in question: a portrait of Bertie Ahern.
“These 250 photos are truly beautiful pictures of Irish people from all walks of life,” she wrote of the portraits by artist Kevin Abosch.
“But of all the 250 beautiful pictures of a good cross section of Ireland’s citizenry north and south, the very first picture, the very first picture you see coming into Ireland is – a picture of Bertie! That threw me off my walk for sure.”
What got her, she said, was “the irony of it all.”
“I mean a lot of the people coming back into Ireland, and getting lost and well exercised in Terminal 2 in the process, had to leave the country in the first place because of policies and practices, or whatever you would call them, that happened during the Bertie regime. And now God help us… after the tribunal findings, it feels even worse. Is that possible?”
She was also dismayed to find the portrait of former President Mary McAleese displayed so close to that of Gerry Adams, while former President Mary Robinson was “down a bit of a cul-de-sac sort of an alcove place, where no one could really see it.”
“There we have Bertie, with his 1 in 250 chance of getting the best spot in the show. Then you have former President Mary MacAleese only a hair’s breath away from your man Gerry, and to top it all former President Mary Robinson well hidden in an alcove. I can tell you by the time I finally found my way to the bus... I was not in a good state at all at all!”
She said she contacted Terminal 2 and was told that the photographer was making an artistic statement and that the positioning of the portraits was not relevant.
“Please can someone help me,” she wrote afterwards. “Is there anyone out there that might have a bit of influence with the PR boys/girls in Terminal 2 or indeed the talented Mr Abosch, and suggest that ‘art’ would in no way be compromised, with a little picture re-arranging? The Lord knows a lot of things ‘got re-arranged’ all over the place in Ireland over the last decade or five, I can’t see that a few pictures re-arranged would make much difference. Sorry, no payment for any favours, though.”
“I opine the enjoyment of this wonderful collection of photographs would be greatly enhanced for many people if Bertie with his 0.004 chance of getting the best spot in the show could be moved say to former President Robinson’s spot down the cul de sac sort of place. And for good measure, hang your man Gerry right across from him on the other wall in the cul de sac,” she wrote.
“Wouldn’t that be nice indeed, Bertie and your man looking across at each other out of harm’s way for the whole year and the rest of us can get on with getting our health and fitness training in, while getting lost in Terminal 2. And coping with the Mahon Tribunal findings that nobody who isn’t pretending won’t find to be more than a couple of million euros worth of no surprise at all.”