A Citizens’ Assembly

The Citizens’ Assembly is a group of 99 randomly-chosen Irish citizens, plus a chair, that considers large-scale issues over the course of months. It began in 2016 by taking up the Eighth Amendment on abortion, the “pensions timebomb” fixed-term parliaments, voter turnout and referendums, and climate change – it is not restricted, like its predecessor the Constitutional Convention, to constitutional issues (WP). The 2020-2021 Assembly considered gender equality and biodiversity loss. Sinn Féin called for an Assembly on Irish unity at its November (2022) Ard Fheis (Irish Examiner | Derry Journal | youtube panel) and Belfast City Council passed an SDLP motion to recommend that the Taoiseach form an Assembly (News Letter); in December, the Dublin City Council approved a measure calling for an Assembly to consider the topic (SF).

“The Irish government should establish a citizens’ assembly on Irish unity/tionól na saoránach ar aontú na hÉireann.” Sinn Féin’s preferred outcome of such a process is given at the bottom of the board: “#Time4Unity/Am d’Aontacht”. The images show the board in north Belfast (Limestone Road) and south Belfast (Cromac Street).

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A Wall For All

A new braille plaque bearing the now-iconic saying “You are now enterting Free Derry” was unveiled last Tuesday (January 24th) by the founder of Children In Crossfire Richard Moore (featured previously in The Derry Lama) who was blinded in 1972 when he was hit with a rubber bullet.

Derry Journal has a gallery of images from the launch.

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An Injustice To One Is An Injustice To All

In his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr wrote, “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The marchers portrayed in the poster above carry placards supporting immigrants (“No human is illegal”), the poor (“Poverty is the worst form of violence”) and Palestine. The poster calls for participants in the annual march, which retraces the route taken on the fateful day in 1972, beginning at Creggan shops and proceeding to Free Derry Corner. Yesterday’s march concluded a week of talks and other commemorative events. Today – January 30th – is the fifty-first anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry.

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Old Carrick Hill

In addition to fifteen printed boards, the collection of images of “Carrick Hill in the old days” now includes a mural, of two women talking in the street. The board in the second image shows Pepper Hill Steps before the turn of the twentieth century. The steps used to lead from Mustard Street (which was what Library Street used to be) towards Upper Library Street (now Carrick Hill, the street). Other boards (not shown) show street games, street parties, and Alton United football club, a team founded in 1921 that played in the Falls League and won the 1923 Free State Cup Final (Bohs Sporting Life).

At the corner of Stanhope Street and Regent Street in Carrick Hill.

Images courtesy of Paddy Duffy.

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Fáilte Roimh Chách

We have featured this ‘bookmark’-dimensioned mural on the so-called “International Wall” before (in 2018) but today include an image (the third one, below) of the replica cell inside the museum itself; a sharper image (and the source for the painting) can be seen on the home page of the Museum’s web site.

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Thousands Are Sailing

Shane O’Malley’s (web) piece for the “Famine Street Art Trail” (youtube) in Derry was inspired by the tune The Coffin Ships (score | youtube) by Tommy Peoples (web). The other piece in the “trail” is Omin’s Stars, Look Down/A Réaltaí, Féachaíg’ Anuas.

Great James Street, Derry

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Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain

Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain (McCracken Primary) is an Irish-language school named after the famous Belfast family and in particular after Mary Anne McCracken, who was a campaigner in the 1800s for the education of children both male and female (among with many other causes – see previously the post on the bust of Mary Anne in Carrick Hill, opposite Clifton House: The World Affords No Enjoyment Equal To That Of Promoting The Happiness Of Others.

The bunscoil opened in 1999 in the New Lodge, before moving to its current location (and site of this mural) in Lancaster Street (Naíscoil Mhic Reachtain). (Lancaster Street is itself named after the controversial Quaker educator, Joseph Lancaster (WP) – Joe Baker p. 72.) According to an Irish News report in 2020 on Irish-language schools, the bunscoil at that time, at least, had more pupils than its approved maximum.

The school borrows from the teaching philosophy of Patrick Pearse (Belfast Media), discussed previously in connection with Coláiste Feirste in An Tusa An Chéad Laoch Eile?

Also on the school wall is an Ed Reynolds piece from 2017: Civilisation Has Its Roots In The Soil.

Image courtesy of Paddy Duffy.

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Flying Solo

On May 20th, 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Harbour Grace in Newfoundland hoping to be the first woman to fly single-handedly across the Atlantic and make it to Paris. It didn’t go entirely to plan. Fifteen hours later, however, she landed in Robert Gallagher’s farm in Ballyarnett, forced down by bad weather and technical problems. The farmer’s wife recorded her recollections of the event, three years later (youtube).

“This work was designed and executed by Tom Agnew, Ceramic Artist, for Leafair Community Association (Fb) as part of the re-imaging communities programme funded by the Northern Ireland Arts Council – 2010.”

Lenamore Rd, Derry

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Sovereignty, Not Stormont

This is the scene on the green-spaces on Lecky Road, Derry. The area is heavily trafficked by tourists visiting around Free Derry Corner (Visual History of the front | rear), the People’s Gallery murals (Visual History), the Hunger Strike Memorial, and the Museum Of Free Derry (web). Anti-Agreement groups thus use the area to get their messages across. In today’s post we see “Sovereignty, not Stormont” from the 32CSM (web); an RNU (Fb) board in support of the “Craigavon 2”; “Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell”, probably from Republican Sin Féin (web) – contrary to the board beneath the one showing, Campbell was extradited to Lithuania but his case was dismissed in October on the grounds that the statute of limitations had passed (Sunday World); an IRA nail-up on a light-pole; a “Remember the ten” 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1918 hunger strike, from IRSP/IRSM (web); and an IRPWA (web) board supporting republican prisoners (previously included in British Gaols In Ireland).

Also on the green is an olive tree for unity.

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You Pays Your Money And You Takes Your Chances

With GameStore from the National Lottery you can win up to 2 million quid, with the St Molaise lotto you can win considerably less (the current jackpot is 6,450 pounds) but support your local GAA club (specifically St Molaise in Irvinestown). If you’re trying to recover anything – or anyone – that has been lost, St Anthony is the main chance.

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