WATCH: TDs hold up images of 'Repeal' mural in the Dáil

The mural was removed by management from the Project Arts Centre in Dublin

WATCH: TDs hold up images of 'Repeal' mural in the Dáil

Image: YouTube/Solidarity - The Left Alternative

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said people can paint over a mural, but they cannot paint over the issue of abortion.

He was reacting to the painting over of a work of art calling for a repeal of the 8th Amendment on the Project Arts Centre in Dublin.

The centre said it was removed as the Charities Regulator informed them that the display was 'political activity' and was therefore in breach of the Charities Act 2009 and not in line with the centre's 'charitable purpose'.

If the artwork was not removed, the centre was at risk of losing its charitable status.

Cian O'Brien, artistic director of Project Arts Centre in Dublin, paints over the Maser Repeal mural following an order to remove it by the Charities Regulator | Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Mr Varadkar said he believes the same decision would have been made if it was a pro-life mural.

He addressed the issue in the Dáil.

"The Charities Regulator would have taken the same approach or the same attitude had it been a pro-life or an anti-abortion mural.

"And I've no doubt the mural will appear elsewhere - perhaps somebody who owns a private building may wish to make the space available for the mural to be re-instated.

"Perhaps even the fact that it has been removed meant that more people saw it than might have otherwise seen it had that not been the case".

He was speaking before TDs Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy held up copies of the mural in the Dáil chamber.

This is banned under rule 343 of the Salient Rulings of the Chair: "Posters, placards or photographs must not be displayed".

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said "stupid stunts like that" do not help.

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Jack Quann