Northern Ireland

14 artworks missing from the Executive's collection

Image caption One of the missing artworks is an oil painting worth almost £5,000

More than a dozen pieces of art, including one valued at almost £5,000, have gone missing from the Executive's collection.

The fourteen paintings worth a total of £20,000 had been under the control of the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Civil Service.

Among the missing artworks is a 1970 oil painting, 'Tullymore' by David Crone, worth £4,500.

It disappeared from the Department of Agriculture's headquarters.

Another painting by David Crone, 'Figure in a studio' worth £3,000, went missing from Gloucester House, which is occupied by the Department for Employment and Learning.

Another of the pieces, a 1994 Romeo C Toogood watercolour of Shaws Bridge and the Lagan Canal, is worth £1,250.

It also went missing from the Department of Agriculture's headquarters at Stormont.

The information was revealed by Stormont Culture Committee chairman Barry McElduff.

'Inherent risks'

"I think this is an alarming development, "said the Sinn Fein assembly member for West Tyrone.

"I would call upon the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to make a public statement about the measures his department is putting in place to ensure that this does not happen again and also to continue his efforts to retrieve them."

A DFP spokesman said the department had a collection of over 1,400 artworks, which are "permanently on loan".

"This policy has been adopted to ensure that the pieces are on show within government buildings rather than having the majority held in storage.

"Having a collection of this scale on loan does have inherent risks. When a piece is detected as missing DFP makes extensive efforts to relocate it.

"These efforts have been unsuccessful in the case of 14 pieces since 1998."