Still The People Spoke

The first Dáil Éireann met in 1919 in the wake of a Sinn Féin sweep of the elections of 1918. Current leader Mary Lou McDonald addressed her deputies at a centenary commemoration, recounting the rise of the party: “They banished us, imprisoned us and bereaved us. But still the people spoke.” The mural above presents a montage of historical images, from the women of Wicklow (Barton) and Dublin (Mulcahy) being urged to exercise their new right to vote (also Arthur Griffith in East Cavan), to Bobby Sands and Owen Carron, to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. (Cormac’s Fight Back was turned into a mural on the Springfield Road.)
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Vote All Unionist

Polls close tonight at 10 pm in voting for the 11 local councils. According to this poster, Sinn Féin are “led by murderers” and are attempting to ‘rewrite history’, a case in point being North Belfast councillor JJ Magee’s (tw) refusal to call PIRA murders “criminal” – in the background is an image of the bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop on the Shankill Road, in which nine people died, plus one of the bombers. Register now to “take back city hall”!
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Victory To Hamas

… and “FUCK Sinn Fein [sic]” in Herbert St, Derry.
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text: X06434

The Fight For Rights

It’s still anybody’s guess as to how Brexit will happen in March, 2019. This week, the ball is in the court of the hard-Brexiteers as they decide whether or not to challenge Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party. Political parties in Northern Ireland claim to be “fighting” for their side – such as this Sinn Féin board on Falls Road – but in practice this means only looking on with fascination and anxiety. “The fight for rights continues – 1968-2018. Don’t let the DUP/Tories take away your rights through Brexit.”
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text: X06306 Falls Road

Mar Uachtarán

Voters in the Irish Republic go to the polls today (October 26th, 2018) to elect a president. Northerners cannot vote, though a referendum to allow residents of Northern Ireland to vote in presidential elections is expected in 2019 (BelTel). Nonetheless, these posters for Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada are at the Glen Road/Falls Road roundabout in west Belfast.
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text: X06214

Comóradh 100 Bliain

Thomas Ashe was born on January 12th, 1885, in County Kerry, into a bi-lingual household. He became an Irish teacher in Lusk and joined the Gaelic League and the Irish Volunteers, commanding the Fingal battalion during the Easter Rising. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, which in fact lasted only a year. He was released but soon charged and convicted with sedition, and died on hunger strike on September 25th, 1917, after an “inhuman and dangerous” attempt at force-feeding by the authorities (WP). See also Tomás Ághas.
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text: X04630

Use The Veto, Leo

“First round” Brexit negotiations between Europe and the UK required an agreement in principle on the land border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (a member of the EU). President of the European Council Donald Tusk went to Dublin at the beginning of December to declare that as a member Ireland (and prime minister Leo Varadkar) would have a veto over whether “sufficient progress” had been made (Irish Times), which the the Sinn Féin board above urged him to use. The DUP objected to any “special status/stádas speisialta” for NI, rejecting the wording proposed on December 4th. An agreement was reached on December 8th which would (somehow) both preserve Northern Ireland’s similarity to the rest of the UK without requiring a “hard border” with the Republic.
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text: X04714 X04721 X04713 X04720

Whispering Winds Why Do You Weep?

IRA volunteer Francis Liggett was shot dead by the British Army during an attempted armed robbery at Royal Victoria Hospital, Falls Road in 1973 (Sutton) while local Sinn Féin member Paddy Brady was shot by the UFF while at work in 1984 (Sutton | An Phoblacht). They are commemorated in the St James memorial garden with the board shown above, featuring two verses from Bobby Sands’s poem Weeping Winds: Oh, Whispering [Whistling, in the original] winds why do you weep/When roaming free you are,
Oh! Is it that your poor heart’s broke/And scattered off afar?
Or is it that you bear the cries/Of people born unfree,
Who like your way have no control/Or sovereign destiny?
Oh! Lonely winds that stalk [walk] the night/To haunt the sinner’s soul/
Pray pity me a wretched lad/Who never will grow old.
Pray pity those who lie in pain/The bondsman and the slave
And whisper sweet the breath of God/Upon my humble grave.
The board is similar in design to the painted one it replaces, except that Éire was at the centre rather than the “SF” logo.
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text: X04398

Sinn Féin Trade Union Dept

Fifteen years after painting, the Rockmount Street mural of Connolly and Liberty Hall is showing its age. Previously seen in 2006.
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text: X00409

The People’s President

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness was nominated by the party to stand for President Of Ireland. He garnered 13.7% of first preference votes and finished third to winner Michael D. Higgins (WP). For the hunger strikers metalwork, see M03118.
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text: X00407 X05074