Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The Daily Mirror – 13 June 2011
Dissidents demand Sinn Fein mayor removes City Hall art
Suzanne Breen
Republican dissidents are demanding Belfast’s new Sinn Fein Lord Mayor takes down a poster from his parlour which they claim insults Ireland’s patriot dead by being displayed in “a bastion of British rule”.

Niall Ó Donnghaile removed pictures of Prince Charles and the Queen Mother from his City Hall office and replaced them with the 1916 Proclamation and a poster of the United Irishmen.

However, the artist who created the poster commemorating Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen’s 1798 rebellion said he is “deeply offended” that his work is on display in the mayor’s parlour.

And Republican Sinn Fein has threatened that if Ó Donnghaile doesn’t remove the poster, they will picket City Hall. Party spokeswoman Geraldine Taylor said: “Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken and Robert Emmet would be turning in their graves if they knew where their picture was hanging.”

New York artist Brian Mor O’Baoigill told the Mirror: “I created the poster to honour republican martyrs who fought for Irish freedom. To display it in the home of the British government in Belfast is the greatest insult possible.

“The men of 1798 died to rid Ireland of the British. Hanging their picture in an office controlled and paid for by the UK makes a mockery of their efforts. When Belfast City Hall is located in a united Ireland, I’ll be honoured to see my artwork displayed there. Until then, I demand Sinn Fein removes it.”

Ó Donnghaile (25), Belfast’s youngest ever Lord Mayor, caused unionist anger when he replaced the royal portraits with republican ones last week to make City Hall “more balanced”.

However, O’Baoigill – whose parents are from Donegal - said he was “devastated” when he saw a Northern Ireland TV news bulletin showing his art in the mayoral parlour.

He is mystified as to how Provisional Sinn Fein came to own the poster as the only place it’s now sold is Republican Sinn Fein’s west Belfast headquarters.

O’Baoigill’s art has long caused controversy and condemnation. He designed an ad which flashed over an electronic billboard in Times Square in 1983 wishing IRA prisoners happy Christmas.

He was a cartoonist for ‘the Irish People’, the newspaper of pro-IRA group Noraid. One of his cartoons celebrated the IRA’s attempt to blow up the British cabinet in 1984.

Entitled ‘Brighton Beach Memories’, it stated, ‘Remember Maggie, we only gotta be lucky once’. The cartoon was unanimously denounced as “sick and revolting” by British MPs.

O’ Baoigill claims Sinn Fein and the IRA have “sold out” republicanism. He has emailed Ó Donnghaile requesting that his artwork be taken down but had so far received no reply. The US-based Irish Freedom Committee has urged Irish-American activists to contact Sinn Fein at Belfast City Hall to support O’Baoigill’s demand.

Some of Brian Mor O'Baoigill other art work.


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