Irish police are investigating several Sinn Féin activists who ignored instructions from a tour guide to deploy a political banner at a national monument in County Donegal.
Gardaí is investigating a Public Works Bureau complaint after members of Sinn Féin unfurled a large banner inside Grianán d’Aileach’s iconic former ringfort in County Donegal.
The banner read “A united Ireland is for everyone – Let’s talk about it” and featured the Sinn Féin logo, according to The Irish Times.
The Irish Independent reports that “two full wagons” of Sinn Féin activists ignored instructions from a lone tour guide, who told them they could not use the monument for political purposes.
The party claims that its members were not aware of the rules prohibiting the use of ringfort for political purposes.
Sinn Féin has now removed a video of the deployment of the banner on the monument from its social media accounts.
Public Works Minister Patrick O’Donovan condemned the incident and confirmed that the OPW had filed a complaint with An Garda Síochána.
“The use of Irish national monuments and heritage sites for political purposes is totally inappropriate and this incident should not have happened.
“The OPW guidelines make it clear that no filming of a political nature is allowed and the case has been referred to An Garda Siochána”, O’Donovan told the Irish Independent.
Gardaí confirmed that they were investigating the incident while the OPW wrote to Sinn Féin to inform the party of the rules for filming at national monuments in Ireland.
The OPW also urged Sinn Féin to encourage all party members to avoid filming political videos on national monuments.
“OPW’s policy is clear that heritage sites should not be used for advertising or promotional purposes, including messages of a political nature. A review of requests for authorization indicates that the authorization has not been requested or issued for this activity. ” OPW said in a statement.
Sinn Féin did not request permission to film the video at ringfort Grianán d’Aileach, the OPW confirmed.
The incident occurred on June 29 and was brought to the attention of OPW headquarters in Dublin on July 5.
Sinn Féin said its members were unaware of any rules prohibiting the use of photography at the site and also said activists had “very little interaction” with the monument’s tour guide.