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Post-Agreement identity narratives: A photographic essay

The 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement gives legal recognition to the coexisting and overlapping national citizenships in Northern Ireland, entitling those born in the jurisdiction to be British, Irish, or both. The devolved administration codifies the traditional political identities of “Unionist” and “Nationalist”, as well as an opportunity for “Others”. The accord has also pledged greater protections for human rights and a development of equality for all.

Presently the political parties in Northern Ireland are embroiled in familiar stalemates over ideology and mastery of narrative; the paradigm of zero-sum endures. Yet the recent murder of journalist Lyra McKee, a self-proclaimed “ceasefire baby”, has exposed generational gaps in understandings and expectations.

Can attachments to competing national histories be reconciled with a plurality of social cultures?

Peace and Life. Art installation by Yaacov Agam. European Parliament, Strasbourg, France.
Too Big to Miss/UDA-UDF. Sandy Row, Belfast.
Loyalist condiments. Donegall Road, Belfast.
Irish cowboys. St Patrick’s Day parade. Castle Place, Belfast.
Young players. Twelfth parade. Lisburn Road, Belfast.
A personal story. Anna Lo at a Living Library event. City Hall, Belfast.
Meta-Troubles. Peter Moloney showing photograph of himself. Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry.
Reminder. Scene of car explosion. Court House, Bishop Street, Derry/Londonderry.
It won’t always be like this. Mural painting in tribute to Lyra McKee. Kent Street, Belfast.
Interface passage. Cupar Way, Belfast.

All images (c) Allan LEONARD @MrUlster CC BY-NC

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