Celtic supporters have long held the club’s and their own Irish heritage very dear. In the early years, the club was very publicly supportive of Irish Home Rule and invited revolutionaries such as Michael Davitt to be Patron of Celtic.
Over time the political landscape in Ireland changed, partition followed the War of Independence and several decades later the pogroms that followed the civil rights marches in the North lead to the most recent period of conflict known as the Troubles. The political expression of the Celtic support and the club’s hierarchy changed over that period too. Indeed, the club disassociates itself from such political matters these days.
The Green Brigade are unapologetically supportive of the Irish Republican struggle for unity and freedom. Whether one agrees with politics and football intermingling is something that is debated constantly, but the reality is that it does happen through a considerable section of supporters.
The Green Brigade have now displayed those political sympathies again, as they unveiled a banner recreating the election posters that were displayed 40 years ago, when Bobby Sands stood for election as an ‘Anti H Block candidate’ in Fermanagh and South Tyrone during his hunger strike in Long Kesh.
40 years ago, Bobby Sands stood for election for ‘Anti H Block’ in Fermanagh and South Tyrone while on hunger strike in Long Kesh. pic.twitter.com/o48RfUqNnT
— North Curve Celtic (@NCCeltic) April 8, 2021
The event was a defining moment in Irish history as Sands’ ultimate success paved the way for a political route to securing Republican objectives, which are currently being carried out through the peace process.
The hunger strike as a whole was also an essential period in the conflict; something which the Green Brigade acknowledged on 1 March, when marking the anniversary of its commencement.
On 1st March 1981, Bobby Sands began his hunger strike for justice for republican prisoners. He died 66 days later, followed by 9 of his comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice. They were the bravest of the brave and are remembered with pride by the Green Brigade. pic.twitter.com/AIZK14Kh9A
— North Curve Celtic (@NCCeltic) March 1, 2021