Socialist republican group Lasair Dhearg this week erected faux street signs in honour of Máire Drumm, IRA hungerstriker Bobby Sands and 1916 Rising leader James Connolly. The aim, it said, was “to highlight British State colonialism, and historic figures associated with it, in Ireland”.
Spokesman Pól Torbóid said Cromwell Road had been ‘renamed’ after United Irishman Henry Joy McCracken and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) was ‘renamed’ ‘Mairéad Farrell University Belfast’ after the former students who was shot dead in Gibraltar in 1988 while engaged in IRA activity.
The group also placed the names of IRA hunger strikers Joe McDonnell, Bobby Sands and Kieran Doherty on streets surrounding Belfast City Hall.
QUB responded that there was “an act of vandalism on the front gates” on Monday which was removed as soon as it became aware of it.
Belfast City Council said it was responsible for street naming in the city. It is aware of footage of the signs being erected, it said, and is looking into the matter, it added.
South Belfast DUP MLA Christopher Stalford claimed the move had been “an excuse to glorify IRA terrorism”.
He added: “It is notable that such campaigns are most often led by those who will most loudly declare that unionists would be respected in the mythical united Ireland which they peddle. The reality of course is that the mind-set behind such campaigns will never accept any display of British identity or history.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said the group claimed to be removing monuments to “oppression” by erecting the name of “furniture shop bomber Sands”.
“Other IRA members commemorated brought us such heroic blows for freedom as Bloody Friday, when multiple car bombs brought terror to Belfast and blew 14-year-old Stephen Parker and Catholic mother-of-seven Margaret O’Hare into eternity along with seven others,
“Yards from where [QUB lecturer] Edgar Graham was shot six times they erected a sign to a member of the organisation which gunned him down.” Lasair Dhearg claims to be fighting poverty and joblessness, he said, but the IRA “destroyed places of employment, homes and families”.
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