Onwards to the ‘Green Republic’

Ógra Shinn Féin’s summer ‘Greening the North’ campaign (or “annual display of lunacy” if you’re Tom Elliott) was announced to the world in the way all modern political activism should, with a blog post complete with photographic evidence.

For uninitiated, ‘greening’ involves painting Royal Mail postboxes a deeper shade of green, ‘An Post’ green to be precise (although some of those shades were a bit pale of you ask me!). “Dozens” of new green postboxes have joined the hundred or so already ‘greened’ around in previous campaigns around Tyrone and beyond say Ógra.

Of course for a young republican, painting post boxes green is great craic, it’s like vandalism with a purpose, with the general self-satisfactory glee that you’re working toward a united Ireland, one post box at a time.

For unionists like Tom Elliott however it’s purely “aggravating antics”. The Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA doesn’t miss a beat either, issuing this statement;

In a rather ironic and stupid move, one of the pictures posted by the organisation shows a young man in what appears to be an Arsenal football club shirt painting one of the post boxes. He obviously doesn’t realise that Arsenal gained their name from the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, South London. This was an Armaments Company that supplied the British army for hundreds of years.

No punches pulled, and I suppose the point highlights the silliness in taking such campaigns serious. Of course there’s nothing wrong with supporting Arsenal (despite the obvious). The irony of spending one day worshiping one British institution while another campaigning against the very presence of another one in your town or village only serves to illustrate the complexities involved in 21st century Irish identity.

Aside from issues of conflicting identity, the other significant point here is a legal one. Strictly speaking painting post boxes might be construed as a criminal activity in some quarters, which surely makes posting photography of yourself doing it evidence?

One final point is the absence this year of any on the record support from Sinn Fein MLAs. Taking a pledge to uphold law and order on ‘the hill’ unfortunately doesn’t include a caveat for painting post boxes, and none of the Assembly members seem eager to be pulled in front of a disciplinary committee as has happened before.

Meanwhile, like a bag of Walkers ready-salted, Royal Mail have pledged to repaint all the post boxes back to good old original red. Cat and mouse indeed, post boxes around Tyrone surely have enough coats for the letters inside to remain intact in the event of a nuclear holocoust.

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About AldousDuke
Mid Tyrone journalist, not so freelance any more.

2 Responses to Onwards to the ‘Green Republic’

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Onwards to the ‘Green Republic’ « Aldous Duke -- Topsy.com

  2. michaelhenry says:

    better dead, than red.
    painting a post box green might be seen as a symbolic looking gesture by some,
    but the republican youth are asserting there anti-crown attitude,
    which is a good peace-full mode to be in.

    the british crown is not on the p.s.n.i logo
    no crown oath at stormont,
    no crown oath with the p.s.n.i
    armed brit soldiers no longer patrol with the p.s.n.i,
    peace is working.

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