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Burden Sharing

Public housing in Ireland has borne the brunt of the nations's republican aspirations, not only in terms of cherishing all the children of the nation equally, but also in the naming of public housing estates and apartment blocks.

While those in the market sector have christened their estates with names varying from the mundane (Rathgar this and that) to the TV soaps (Southfork downs and the like), those relying on public housing have been left with the task of honouring or remembering fallen republican leaders.

Perusing a map of Dublin, you could be 90% certain that any housing estate or apartment block bearing a dead patriot's name was public housing. Examples are Pearse House and Markevicz House in the City Quay area of Dublin. This is explained, no doubt, by the power to name such estates residing exclusively with the local authorities concerned, rather than with private sector builders or developers.

I recently came across what appears to be, however inadvertently, the most extreme version so far of the involvement of public housing in the national struggle. The picture (below) is a detail from a block of flats in Lombard St., Dublin 2.

The sign is in Irish, the burden of the restoration of which language also falls disproportionately on public housing.

One could be forgiven for thinking that it commemorates, or foretold, the H Block hunger strikes of 1981.

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