Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-
“An answer to a recent Assembly Question reveals that the Assembly has a cache of artwork and historic artefacts, worth over £600,000, mostly stashed away in storage or in private offices unseen by the public.
“I have long pressed the Assembly Commission to permit a public exhibition of the works it holds – and which the public therefore owns – but in another pitiful answer (AQW 9/17-22) they decline because “the present Commission is currently focused on dealing with matters arising from the delay in the Assembly returning to full business.” Oh yeah!
“I believe it is a disgrace that valuable artefacts are hidden away in this fashion.
“Among the items hidden in storage are a ceremonial sword, carved and gilded Throne Chair, several portraits and photographs of events in the life of the NI Parliament. Among the items unavailable to the public because they are in the private office of the Speaker or the vacant office of the First Minister are a £50,000 oil painting by P Van Meulen, books containing the names of the civilian war dead, William IV vase, silver maces, bell from ‘HMS Ulster’ and Coronation vase. While the most valuable item of all, worth £300,000, The Oblisk on the Boyne by J Tudor is on loan to Hillsborough Castle, along with the Lydia de Burgh portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
“I think it is quite shameful that valuable and historic items are hidden away from public view, probably because of the intolerance of some towards anything with a British connotation. What a blinkered approach to works of art.”
You can view the relevant Q & A online.