An Attitude Of Revolt

The Tommy Roberts mural at the top of Westland Street, Derry, has been expanded, with a new central image – which now includes a portrait of Stevie Mallon alongside Roberts, against a background of Free Derry Corner – and three additional plaques.

Both quotes (“Life springs from death, and from the graves of dead patriot men and women spring living nations.” and “As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.” are from Patrick Pearse. The first quote was also used on a Gibraltar 3 mural in Belfast and an INLA mural in Strabane in 1990; the latter was used in a Belfast in the 1980s.

“In proud and loving memory of Tommy Roberts, former IRA volunteer, former POW blanketman, died 8th June 2017 aged 78. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.”

“In proud and loving memory of Stevie Mellon, former IRA volunteer, former internee, former GAA referee, died 1st August 2018, aged 65 years. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. Lay him away on the hillside with the brave and the bold.”

“In proud and loving memory of Veronica Taylor, a proud socialist republican. Born11th June 1943, died 16th December 2019, aged 76 years. Her tireless dedication to the republican struggle will never be forgotten. “The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day and die if necessary.””

“In proud and loving memory of Ruairí (Roddy) Carlin, former IRA volunteer, former POW, died 23rd March 2021. A brave son of Ireland who fought for his country against continued British oppression and injustice, an uncompromised republican committed to the reunification of Ireland.”

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After We Are Gone

Patsy O’Hara was born in 1957 Bishop Street, Derry, and joined Na Fianna in 1970 and the local Sinn Féin cumann in 1971 and, in August was shot in the leg by British soldiers. In 1972 he joined the Republican Clubs and in 1975 the IRSP. He was imprisoned multiple times, the final time being in January 1979 for possession of a hand grenade (Bobby Sands Trust). He went on hunger strike 41 years ago tomorrow (March 22nd) and was the first of the three INLA hunger strikers to die in 1981. The long-standing mural in Bishop Street was repainted for the 40th anniversary of his death. (For the previous version, see Let The Fight Go On.)

“Óglach Patsy O’Hara, INLA Derry Brigade, Irish hunger striker, who died after 61 days on 21st May 1981, age 23. Last words ‘Let the fight go on’.”

“After we are gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say you were with us in our struggle or where you conforming to very system that drove us to our deaths?”

Bishop Street, Derry

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Remember The Hunger Strikers

Here are two IRSP pieces commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike. The first, above and immediately below, is from Ard Eoin/Ardoyne (Béal Feirste/Belfast) with colour (or at least, colour-ised) portraits of the ten who died on either side of an image from Keven Lynch’s funeral cortège. It is the same as the board seen on the lower Falls in For A Socialist Republic. At the bottom is a poster from Strabane calling people to gather in remembrance in Derry.

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Solidarity With Palestine

éistigi [sic]/Saoradh (web)/IRPWA board in Ardoyne expressing “Irish republican solidarity with Palestine”. This is a printed board but even so the artwork is in a different style to what has been previously seen, with the two female characters drawn in a cartoon/animation style. (See, e.g., End Maghaberry Torture previously in this spot, or Leave Our Kids Alone around the corner in Ardoyne Ave, or The Rising Of The Moon in Derry.)

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More Blacks, More Gays, More Irish

The old shop-window sign of the Irish experience in England “No blacks, no Irish, [no dogs]” is repurposed and reclaimed positively by the RNU in the Colin area, with the rainbow flag, Irish tricolour, and Nelson Mandela (alongside James Connolly) below the skyline of Belfast. For the original, see previously Oppose Racism | No Dogs, No POWs

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Victory To The Republican Prisoners

Victory to the republican political prisoners from across the ages – “H-Block to Maghaberry” – but also from Ireland to Palestine.

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Their Blood Our Cause Has Sanctified

For the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, portraits of the deceased ten (plus Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan from the 1970s) were placed on the railings of the Ballymurphy memorial garden. There is a new (compared to 2006 and 2008) set of plaques, erected in 2017:

“A Letter To The 22: You have not gone away, you are in the hearts and on the lips of your people. The old speak of you with knowing tongue. The middle aged, as those who worked beside you. The young men and women with a passion not unlike your own. Your names can be heard on the wind taken from the mouths of men who tend their flocks on Slieve Gullion, Cnoc Phadraig, Glenshane. They echo in the small graveyards in Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone, Antrim, Derry and Armagh. They are heard among your people at the mass gate on Sunday in the crowd at the hurling game, around the hearth when the bottle is cracked and song is sung. Your image can be seen on the faces of happy smiling children for whose freedom you gave your all. You are in our prayers you have not gone away, you never will. Mise le meas Colm Mac Giolla Bhein 2006. This monument was erected by the Ballymurphy Ex POWs in memory of the 22 hunger strikers who died for the cause of Irish freedom. It was unveiled on the hundredth anniversary of Thomas Ash[e] who was the first republican to die on hunger strike in 1917. He died after five days while being force fed. Thomas Ash[e] an these 21 brave Irish men stood by their beliefs and refused to be criminalised. Fuair siad bás ar son shaoirse na hÉireann. I measc laochra na nGael go raibh siad.”

For the mural, with NHS board, see Pray For Us.

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Aontacht Lenár Linn

“Am le haontacht na hÉireann” [Time for Irish unity]. Between stints in prison in 1976, Bobby Sands carried a green harp flag – symbol of Ireland and in particular of the United Irishmen – in an August march to protest the withdrawal of political status (Gérard Harlay/Bobby Sands Trust). He is shown here marching under the #TimeForUnity message on Sliabh Dubh in the campaign for a border poll and Irish unity “lenár linn”/”in our time” (Fb | tw).

See also: Reifreann Anois | Time For Irish Unity

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For A Socialist Republic

“Saoirse go deo.” INLA volunteer Kevin Lynch went on hunger strike 40 years ago yesterday, May 23rd, 1981. He would die 71 days later, on August 1st. His funeral is depicted above, part of a new IRSP/IRSM board commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes. The board is flanked by two other IRSP boards, one against the PSNI (“96% of Divis residents do not support the PSNI – defund, disarm, disband”) and one dedicated to founder Seamus Costello (“He was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.” – Nora Connolly at Costello’s funeral)

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For Twinbrook

In 2019, images of Bobby Sands before his (second and final) arrest and imprisonment were rediscovered in the collection of French photographer Gérard Harlay. Sands was serving as a flag-bearer in an August 1976 march from the Busy Bee to Dunville Park to protest the withdrawal of political status. (For some of Harlay’s images, see Bobby Sands Trust.) This new mural in his home area of Twinbrook copies one of the images (though presents him as carrying a Tricolour rather than a harp) along with protesters protesting for “Public transport for Twinbrook now” and “Social housing for Twinbrook now”.

See also: Comóradh 40 Stailc Ocrais

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