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Date TimeSeptember 27, 2019
VoiceWith Brexit looming, a dormant government and dissident terror on the rise, these are fertile times for Ulster bands – with Arlene Foster’s ultra-conservatives the common enemy
Basic human rights are being rejected: Northern Irelands anti-DUP protest music
The dark upstairs room of an old sports bar in Belfast is an unassuming venue for a revolution. Against a backdrop of silver streamers and placards from the pro-choice rally that has just taken place, a small crowd gathers as Sister Ghost blast out a rendition of Nirvana’s Love Buzz. Vocalist Shannon Delores O’Neill sings in impassioned yelps, continually falling to her knees, eyes closed, and dropping the microphone at the end of the song. Nirvana played the track at the first ever Rock for Choice benefit in Hollywood, California, in 1991. Sister Ghost are performing it at a fundraiser for the same cause.
Amid the threat posed by Brexit, civil rights struggles and a paramilitary resurgence, the political situation in Northern Ireland remains fragile. The country is gasping in a political vacuum without a functioning government since 2017, after disagreements between the two main parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, signalled the end of their power-sharing agreement. The killing of journalist Lyra McKee in April (for which the New IRA has admitted responsibility) and the attacks on police in Fermanagh and Craigavon suggest that slipping back into pre-1998 chaos is not a distant danger.

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