Eamonn McCann in Spat over Election Material at Free Derry Corner April 27, 2010Posted by Garibaldy in UK General Election 2010.
People Before Profit candidate Eamonn McCann has claimed that Sinn Féin have told him to take down by tomorrow afternoon an election mural at the back of Free Derry Corner on the Lecky Road.
However, Sinn Féin have said it had already booked the space in agreement with a committee who look after the wall in order to erect its own election poster.
Mr McCann said he was unaware of any formal booking procedures, and claimed that his election workers had agreed with people usually involved with the wall that his banner could go up. He said that no political party controls Free Derry Corner and he won’t be taking the banner down.
“I received a text telling me to take down the poster by Wednesday lunchtime or it would be taken down It is a community facility. It is not their wall or their area. They have claimed more public space than any other party and now they want the wall as well,”
Committee member Tony Doherty, a member of Sinn Fein, who sent the text to Mr McCann, told the ‘Journal'; “I have been in contact with both sides and I am hoping for an amicable solution. There is a long-standing protocol and I hope that everyone adheres to that protocol.”
As Mick Fealty points out, the situation is particularly ironic given that McCann’s involvement in the original Free Derry in January 1969 (you can read McCann’s account of the period here). It’s hard to know what has happened here. The Derry Journal reports that there is a specially constructed frame for groups to hang banners, so presumably there is some sort of booking process for deciding who can hang what when, so that claim seems credible. Having said that, it’s not inconceivable that an organisation used to hanging its banners there had just assumed that it would have the space, and that McCann has stolen a march on them. Clearly McCann at least feels that there is an issue here of one party seeking to squeeze out dissenting voices. In an election where the left is represented solely by McCann, it would be a shame if his voice were to be drowned out.
EDIT: It seems that elsewhere in county Derry, a more direct approach might have been adopted.