Get your bigot gear for tots

Today’s Sunday Life reveals how you can purchase Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) t-shirts and other accessories at the popular merchandise website, where anyone can design an entire line of gear with simple uploading of images.

The article quotes Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson’s objection to the items for sale:

It’s appaling that t-shirts and other paraphernalia glorifying terrorism should be for sale on the same week dissident republicans made an attempt on a British soldier’s life.

That Oglaigh na hEireann should try to further its message by printing teddy bears and baby gros for children is both distasteful and hugely inappropriate.

Now, where else have I seen cuddly teddy bears glorifying terrorism?

Ah yes, at a recent Sinn Féin ard fheis in Dublin — with Aran-style jumpers displaying cross rifles, Irish tricolour and Plough and Stars flag, and the slogan “Tioceaidh Ar La” (“our day will come”).

I trust Mr Donaldson would be as offended at this offering by the largest Nationalist party in Northern Ireland Government.

And then there’s the ONH bib — get them converted before they can even speak.

This reminded me of my work at the Linen Hall Library and the Troubled Images project, where we digitised and annotated (mainly by Gordon Gillespie) over 3,500 posters and other ephemera.

The result was a CD-ROM with searchable content and audio essays (plug — available for sale at the Linen Hall Library).

Yes, the library’s Northern Ireland Political Collection has its share of baby bibs, “Proud to be a Prod baby”, and the like:

And items for children and adults alike:

And I hope Mr Donaldson would not approve such items of questionable taste.

On a more serious note, I was intrigued to find among the Cafepress’s offering of ONH items one described as “Cute Oglaigh na hEireann T-Shirt” (above).

The image it employs, a lithograph of a masked gunman with the caption, “Resistance”, and a quote by the 1981 hunger striker, Bobby Sands.

The ONH t-shirt demonstrates the contest for the memory of Bobby Sands.

Cafepress offers smaller businesses and individuals an opportunity to brand imagery and messages. Mr Donaldson (and surely others) have called for Cafepress to disassociate itself from ONH. Inspecting Cafepress’s content guidelines, I couldn’t identify a direct reference that would exclude ONH, or any other terrorists’ material:

General Guidelines for Prohibited Content

  • Content that may infringe on the rights of a third a party.
  • Items that make inappropriate use of Nazi symbols and glamorize the actions of Hitler.
  • Use of marks that signify hate towards another group of people.
  • Hate and/or racist terms.
  • Inappropriate content or nudity that is not artistic in nature.
  • Content that exploits images or the likeness of minors.
  • Obscene and vulgar comments and offensive remarks that harass, threaten, defame or abuse others such as F*** (Ethnic Group).
  • Content that depicts violence, is obscene, abusive, fraudulent or threatening such as an image of a murder victim, morgue shots, promotion of suicide, etc.
  • Content that glamorizes the use of “hard core” illegal substance and drugs such as a person injecting a vial of a substance in their body.
  • Material that is generally offensive or in bad taste, as determined by CafePress.

The list outlined above should NOT be construed as an exhaustive list of offensive material but rather as a general guideline for you to follow.

ONH’s material could signify “hate towards another group of people”, but doesn’t actually “depict violence” directly. But it is surely threatening to others.

In any case, it’s hard to argue that ONH’s material, and other that depicts bigotry, isn’t in poor taste.


  • Mr Ulster, a plastic bib I once saw in the late ’90s mentioned the Garvaghy Road but the verb used had a nappy affinity.

  • Of course, toy guns have been sold at the Belfast field on the Twelfth …

  • socaire

    Are those spelling mistakes the little corporal’s fault or Mr 6-cos?

  • Yes, in my quest for Norn Iron political postcards, I visited several stores selling such merchandise.
    Rather than making my excuses and leaving, I purchased several items of questionable taste……..but strictly in the interest of buying tomorrows collectibles today.
    In the spirit of anti-sectarianism, I point out two items………….the Union Jack facemask with “Trick or Treat” and the plastic bullet with a rather unpleasant statement on it concerning its potential use.
    Obviously I bought neither.

  • galloglaigh

    I would say the Oglaigh na hEireann Teddy (and maybe bib) are photo-shopped. Are they so stupid as to put a red and blue ribbon around the Teddy’s neck? But then again… Is that a stupid question?

  • galloglaigh

    I put a bid on ebay for Gusty Spence’s handkerchief. Was raging I didn’t win the bid. I was so close and would have loved to have been the new owner of such an historic artefact!

  • galloglaigh, the ribbon is standard cafepress issue. Here’s one that you could send to Jeffrey for the grandchildren.

  • glenda lough

    Gusty Spence’s handkerchief. Did ebay say if it was laundered, or did it by any chance contain…genetic material? Would imagine the latter would increase the value somewhat.

  • pauluk

    Some of this stuff reminds me how the Palestinians continue to poison the minds of their children with hate-filled messages and symbolism.

    I can’t remember the last time I read anything as isolationist and bigoted – bordering on racist – as the Bobby Sands quote.

  • Davy McFaul

    Very tasteful.

  • It is good to see Jeffrey taking the time to focus on the issues that really matter – offensive Teddy Bears. I’m sure you can find offensive merchandise on the internet on almost any issue.

    But never fear, Big Jeffrey is on top of it.

    Not that I really condone any of the above, but is it really an issue? Does it really matter? Do the lives and wellbeing of people across NI really hinge on that? Somehow, I don’t think so.

    But I’m sure this could turn into one of the more fiery debates here on Slugger.

  • sliabhluachra

    But what sort of a Peace Provo clown would buy such a bib for their baby? It really stinks of American Nazis or English (Man U) footballers. Utd used to have such a line in baby products, wine and what not.

    Do mainstream Itrish and British parties go in for this trot rot or is it only those with baggage?

  • Talking of teddy bears:

    Those of an orange disposition should not click on the link.

  • ayeYerMa

    sliabhluachra, the same type of Provo who has a section of their party conference called “Long creche”.

  • sherdy

    Does Jeffrey receive any remuneration for advertising these items?

  • Greenflag

    Donaldson’s fit of pique set off by Sunday Life’s ‘Oglaigh ‘Teddy Bear looks like a self inflicted propaganda job for who knows what reason -slow news perhaps ?

    The clue for those who study the faux Ursines is it’s ribbon colours .Now exactly what self respecting Oglaigh na h-Eireann teddy bear is going to wear a ‘red and blue ribbon and not a green and orange one unless of course the ‘teddy bear ‘ marketeers or Sunday Life ‘hacks’ forgot to change the ribbon colours ?

    Jeffrey Donaldson needs to move with the times .Teddy Bears are old hat .Now here’s a bear that’s obviously ‘Republican ‘ colour coded .With 165 million hits to Teddy Bears mere 656,000 theres no contest .

  • @galloglaigh and @Greenflag The easy reply to the red, white and blue ribbon is that Cafepress products are “Made in the USA”. Ah the irony.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mr Ulster

    ‘The easy reply to the red, white and blue ribbon is that Cafepress products are “Made in the USA”.’

    I don’t believe it 🙂 Made in the USA ? Designed perhaps or marketed in the USA but surely stuffed and sewn together by the oriental workshop people who fill the shelves of American and European department stores with consumer ‘goodies ‘ .

  • galloglaigh


    Like every conflict, there are two sides to the coin!

  • sliabhluachra
  • RepublicanStones

    Some of this stuff reminds me how the Palestinians continue to poison the minds of their children with hate-filled messages and symbolism.

    Good man gallolaigh for showing Paul the one sided blinkered bollocks statement that so patently was.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Well so long as this is the advertising thread…