Minister Humphreys adds Pearse letter to Register of Cultural Objects
The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, has this evening (Monday) confirmed that she has added a surrender letter written by Pádraig Pearse in the aftermath of the Easter Rising to the Register of Cultural Objects under Section 48 of the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997. This will have the effect of delaying the issuing of an export licence for the letter for a year.
The letter was withdrawn from auction in recent weeks after it failed to reach the guide price of €1.5 million. The Department received a request for an export licence for the letter this afternoon. The Minister added the letter to the Register on Friday evening last.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“When my Department was informed that this letter was to be put up for sale, my officials consulted with the relevant cultural institutions and it was agreed that the price being sought was too high, especially considering that a number of other Pearse letters are already held by the National Library, the National Museum and the National Archives.
“I remain of the view that the guide price on this letter is too high. However, I have taken the decision to add the letter to the Register of Cultural Objects, given its heritage value. Adding the letter to the Register effectively delays the granting of an export licence for the letter for one year. This will provide some space and time, when other potential buyers may come forward and I think it is the right thing to do in this case.
“It is worth repeating that should an individual wish to donate this letter to the State, they could claim 80% of its value back in tax relief under the very generous Section 1003 scheme. As set out in the legislation, it is not open to me to refuse to grant the export licence, but by delaying it for a year, I am providing an opportunity to allow other options to keep the letter in the country to emerge.”