Irish Republican News · August 30, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Republican mural displaced by advertisement hoarding
Republican mural displaced by advertisement hoarding

A controversy erupted in west Belfast this week after a mural honouring republican women killed in the conflict was replaced by an ad promoting landlordism.

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The ‘women in struggle’ mural on the Falls Road commemorated famous IRA women including Mairead Farrell, killed by the SAS in Gibraltar and Maire Drumm, the Sinn Fein vice-president assassinated by loyalists in Belfast’s Mater hospital.

But the detachable mural was recently removed. A mural depicting a US-style ‘Uncle Sam’ figure saying ‘Landlords We Need You’ was then erected in its place by a local business, according to a report by Suzanne Breen.

Bizarrely, the new mural sat above one of republican socialist icon James Connolly, the 1916 leader renowned for his hatred of landlords.

A former IRA PoW, Nuala Perry, who knew both Farrell and Drumm said: “I’m horrified that Mairead and Maire have been discarded for landlords. This shows what West Belfast has become - it’s all about money and nothing about republicanism or socialism now. The last thing we need is more landlords.”

So enraged were locals that the advertisement, placed by Northern Property Ltd., was paint-bombed last weekend, and has now been removed.

“I’m not surprised that happened. People were very angry,” said Perry who served five years in Armagh prison.

Sinn Fein was accused of organising the mural’s substitution on behalf of the property company, which has contributed to the party in the past.

Padraic McCotter, a former blanketman who served 15 years in Long Kesh, said he was stunned that the women’s mural had been cast aside for the landlords’ ad. “When I first heard of it, I thought it was a joke.

“The irony must be lost on (those) who put this ad up given that it’s placed above a painting of James Connolly.”

McCotter called for the republican women to be put back on the Rockmount Street wall.

Tony Donnelly, director of Northern Property, said his office had been inundated with calls about the mural’s removal. He said it had been taken down by Sinn Fein and his company had then erected its ad separately. Sinn Fein has not yet commented on the affair.

“We now realise that wasn’t a brilliant idea and the old mural will be reinstated in due course,” Mr Donnelly said.

© 2011 Irish Republican News