This is the latest iteration of the “Build Homes Now” mural in Northumberland Street, with an update to the central panel. Previously it was a space for visitors to sign their names in support but now it is a quote from (presumably) someone living in temporary accommodation: “When you’re in a hostel for so long, it starts to feel like a jail. It’s just so irritating and frustrating.”
The new Bobby Sands mural is not the only recent addition in Twinbrook. Almond – the middle of the estate – has a ‘before and after’ of the pandemic: on the left, locals sit out in the street watching children play; on the right, frontline personnel.
On Sunday March 22nd, 1981, forty years ago this week, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara joined Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes on hunger strike in Long Kesh/HMP Maze. They would be joined by 19 more prisoners before the strike ended with ten of the 23 meeting their deaths. On March 31st, 1974, Michael Gaughan went on hunger strike in Parkhurst, along with four others, including Frank Stagg. Gaughan died in June as a result of forced feeding; Stagg would die on a later strike, in February 1976.
“A new Ireland will work for you”, whoever you are. The recent Sinn Féin advertising campaign features generic figures straight from central casting, perhaps designed to offend absolutely no one. The locations are in north and west Belfast.
Cúchulainn stands dying; the raven on his shoulder will signal his death. “This memorial is dedicated to all the brave and gallant men and women of the Old IRA (Óglaigh na hÉireann) and Cumann na mBán who fought in all of the campaigns from the 1920s War of Independence onwards.”
The Irish tricolour with crossed rifles was the flag of the Irish Volunteers (Óglaigh na hÉireann), the splits in which gave rise all the subsequent IRAs.
For a roll of honour 1916-1966, including some profiles, see Treason Felony.
“Referendum now”. On this day 100 years ago (1920-12-23) the ‘Government Of Ireland Act‘ – the fourth Home Rule bill – was passed in the UK parliament, partitioning Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, both within the UK. The rest, as they say, is history, history we are still living out. Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald claimed (in an interview with Owen Jones of the Guardian) that Irish unity would be achieved this decade. Martin McGuinness said in 2003 that unity would be achieved by the centenary of the Rising (Indo) but that year has come and gone. (Feb poll | Oct poll)
Ní saoirse go saoirse na mban [“There is no freedom until the freedom of women”] with images of Countess Markievicz, Colman Doyle’s famous ?1974? image of a (staged) female IRA volunteer with AR-18, Máire Drumm, and Mairéad Farrell. Lasair Dhearg (web) sticker in north Belfast.