The Irish in Britain Representation Group was an Irish national community organisation which during its lifetime organised and took part in many events up and down the country. The IBRG archive is at the WCML in Salford.
This latest donation to the archive , a selection of posters, is from IBRG stalwart Pat Reynolds which reflects the wide ranging activities that the group was involved with and IBRG’s links with other Irish and left wing groups.
Five of the posters were created to promote the annual Bloody Sunday March which usually took place in London. (Posters from 1985/88/94/98/2000)
On Sunday 30 January 1972 a peaceful civil rights march in the Bogside, Derry was attacked by British paratroopers which left 14 men dead, some of whom were shot in the back whilst running away. It was immediately christened “Bloody Sunday, ” a bleak reminder of a similar event in 1920.
In Britain Bloody Sunday provoked the Irish community into taking to the streets in protests and demonstrations across the country. Links were made with the people of Derry and over the years the Irish community joined together with other groups including the Troops Out Movement, Wolfe Tone Society, Women and Ireland Network, Labour Committee on Ireland, Black Action, individual M.P.s etc to make sure that Bloody Sunday would not be forgotten.
In 1998 a new inquiry into Bloody Sunday was announced. It did not publish its report until 2010 when it concluded that all the dead and wounded were innocent. However the blame was ascribed to one single officer , Derek Wilford, and some low ranking soldiers. The report did not place any blame on the military and political elite.
IBRG started its own St.Patrick’s Day March to promote the particular issues affecting the Irish community in this country. This poster was of the demonstration on 20th March 1988 which highlighted issues including the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4, and Campaign against Strip Searching.
Two other posters are about miscarriage of justice cases that IBRG were involved in, that of Danny McNamee and Frank Johnson.
From the 1980s onwards there was a cultural renaissance in the Irish community in Britain and IBRG and the Green Ink Bookshop and its annual Irish Bookfair was at the heart of it.
These posters were created for the annual Irish Bookfair which celebrated Irish culture in all its forms. (Posters from 1985/ 87/88/96/98.)
Local London boroughs organised their own Irish festivals with an agenda that reflected the Irish community and all its facets. This one at Southwark in July 1992 started with an open air mass, had Republican group the Wolfe Tones perform, as well as a ceili band and Chuck June and the Gamblers!
Conferences took place across the country examining the lives of the Irish in Britain. IBRG held several of these and here is the poster for the IBRG Welfare Conference of 9 July 1988.
On 1 November 1992 the Birmingham Irish community organised a conference calling on the community to “Let Your Voice Be Heard”.
Collating the posters Pat Reynolds commented:
” Just strange putting them together as you walked every mile of that march, you fly posted it, you helped organise it, you were all day at that conference, maybe even spoke at it, or at least make your contribution, like history and people passing by your eyes and your memory. You become aware that our people were brave and inspiring even in the darkest times.”
Read more about IBRG here