Our News Editor Roisin Monk explains how the removal of the Repeal The 8th mural from the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar has effectively made it a hallmark of the Repeal The 8th campaign.
The Streisand Effect: Defined as the phenomenon by which an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information has the unintentional consequence of garnering greater publicity for said piece of information, usually on a very large scale and facilitated by the internet and social media.
This was most definitely the case for the Maser art mural in favour of the Repeal The 8th campaign that was removed by Dublin City Council this July amid complaints from the public.
The mural, which appeared on the wall of the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar and related to the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, was the subject of complaints from locals who viewed the mural as, among other things, an eye sore and an offence to their personal beliefs.
In total, the Project Arts Centre and Dublin City Council received approximately 50 complaints about the piece.
However, on the other side of things, there were over 200 messages of support and well wishes for the mural received also.
Despite this, Dublin City Council deemed the mural to be in violation of planning laws, and ordered that the mural be removed.
The Project Arts Centre complied with this on the 25th of July, painting over the mural so that all that remains of the once bright mural is the blue background on which it lay.
One would assume perhaps that the old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ would ring true now that the mural had been removed, but this was certainly not the case.
Almost immediately, people took to various social media sites to voice their outrage at the mural's removal, spreading the original image far and wide, with the hashtag #repealthe8th racking up thousands of tweets in the last few weeks alone.
Many Twitter users have chosen to add the mural's original image to their display picture as a show of support for the campaign.
While Twitter user @HunrealIssues, who originally commissioned the mural, has an ever growing online store of apparel sporting the mural's image on their website, for those who wish to show their support in the real world.
With stickers, pins, t-shirts imitation murals and even donuts supplied by popular coffee shop Aungier Danger displaying the logo, it’s becoming difficult to look around both on and offline without seeing some sort of reminder of Maser’s original work.
In its censorship, those who wanted to remove the mural effectively made it ‘the’ hallmark of the Repeal the 8th Campaign, giving it far more attention and spreading it far further than it most likely would have, had it been allowed to stay where it originally was.
As aforementioned, the original artwork was commissioned by The HunReal Issues, whose main goal is to bring political and current issues affecting women in Ireland to a wider and more accessible audience, particularly to young men and women who don’t typically involve themselves in political matters.
The whole mural debacle has certainly done that, and if nothing else, it has started a conversation in which both sides of the argument can express their views on the matter of the Eighth Amendment.
Every movement has defining moments and symbols, that will be remembered throughout the campaign's duration, and in some cases, long after.
For the gay rights movement, the Rainbow Flag has become synonymous with equality, when thinking of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, it’s hard not to remember the images that came from the riots in Ferguson Missouri.
For the Repeal the 8th campaign here at home, it’s looking like it’ll be the Maser mural that will remain in our minds.