Irish government refuses to buy Pearse’s 1916 surrender letter

Posted By: November 14, 2016

Andrew Madden. IRISH NEWS (Belfast). Monday, November  14,2016



Pearse was one of 15 Easter Rising leaders executed on May 3, 1916

THE final surrender letter penned by Patrick Pearse  at the end of the 1916 Easter Rising is set to go up for public auction after the Irish government declined the opportunity to purchase it.

The hand-written letter, dated April 29, 1916, is expected to sell for between €1 million and – €1.5m when it goes under the hammer at Adam’s Auctioneers in Dublin next month.

The Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht said it had declined the offer to purchase the document due to its high price and the fact that they already had examples of Pearse’s writing.

This is the second time the Irish government has turn down the chance to buy the letter.

In 2005, the item was offered to state for €50,000. Upon the state’s refusal, it was sold to a private collector at auction for €800,000.

The latest decision has provoked criticism from several corners.

Speaking to the Sunday Business Post, Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern Irish at University College Dublin and advisor to the government’s 1916 commemorations, labeled the refusal ‘appalling’.

“I appreciate state money is not unlimited, but if it leaves the country, it means two crucial surrender notes from 1916 will be in other countries,” he said.

“If the government cannot or will not purchase the document it would be nice to think that a wealthy civic and patriotic-minded individual would purchase it and donate it to one of our national archives, which is where it really belongs.”