Monday, 8 March 2021
Unveiling of Portrait of Elizabeth O'Farrell
Today is International Women's Day, Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan, a celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerated gender parity. We all know all too well that that parity and gender equality eludes us still. The painting being unveiled in the Seanad today is entitled Her Surrenderby Leitrim artist, Sinead Guckian. It symbolises the all too frequent airbrushing of the contribution of women from Irish history. Nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell was the woman who carried Pádraig Pearse's message seeking the end to hostilities during the 1916 Rising. She was airbrushed out of the photograph of Pearse surrendering to Brigadier General Lowe. As stated by the artist, she is remembered for being forgotten. The unveiling of the painting in the Seanad rectifies in a very small way that historic wrong done to Elizabeth O'Farrell.
I invite the Leader to unveil the painting on behalf of Seanad Éireann.
I thank the Leader for unveiling the painting on behalf of the House. I take this opportunity to point out that she is just the third woman to lead Seanad Éireann in its 99-year history and this is only the second time in the history of the proceedings of the Houses that a piece of art has been unveiled in the Houses. On the previous occasion, John F. Kennedy unveiled the painting of the flag of the 69th regiment during his address in 1963. I thank the Leader for unveiling the painting, in a small way marking International Women's Day.
I invite the Leader to outline the Order of Business.
It was an honour to unveil the piece of beautiful art and to accept on it on behalf of all here this morning. I thank the artist, Sinead Guckian, who depicted the scene of the message being delivered at the end of the hostilities of Easter week. She has done a beautiful job. The task now is to find a fitting and suitable place to hang it in the halls of the Oireachtas.