ACHILL MAN STRIKES AT HEART OF BRITAIN?‘Anglo Avenger’ Joe McNamara pictured with his ‘British blade’ structure under the shadow of London’s Tower Bridge.
Avenger strikes at Anglo heart
Achill-henge creator erects protest structure under the shadow of London’s Tower Bridge
Joe McNamara, the man behind the controversial Achill-henge structure, has unveiled his latest protest work – a seven metre sword structure under the shadow of the famous Tower Bridge in London.
The man known as the Anglo Avenger for his protests against Anglo Irish Bank can be said to have struck at the heart of the Anglo world when you consider the location and the design of the structure. It consists of a sword with the letters ‘pol’ written on it driven through a heart shaped Union Jack.
The Mayo News has learned that the word pol is an abbreviation of politicians and the symbolism of the structure is that ‘politicians are the sword through the heart of Britain’. Sources close to McNamara, who is currently working in the construction sector in London, have told The Mayo News that the erection of the unauthorised structure started at 5.30am on Saturday morning last.
Work finished three hours later and the structure stood there all day Saturday as tourists and locals streamed by the busy central London location. It was taken down by McNamara and some co-workers on Sunday morning following a request from the management company which looks after the area in question.
“Joe was amazed that he was able to carry on Saturday morning without any objection, right in the middle of London yet when he did likewise in Achill with the ‘Henge’, Mayo County Council were straight down to him,” said the source. “Joe feels that politicians are the bane of everyone’s life over here, especially with the election coming up, and that is what is being said here,” he added.
The structure, which The Mayo News understands McNamara has dubbed ‘the British blade’ is seven metres high and weighs 14 tonnes. The sword is steel while the heart is concrete. It took two weeks to construct in the men’s free time. He had several other Irish men helping him on the project, including three from Mayo. They were Mike Carty from Knock, Liam McIntyre from Kilmaine and Kieran Barrett from Doohoma.
The location is on the south side of the world famous Tower Bridge, immediately in front of the office of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Several different art installations were placed here on a temporary basis in recent years. The Mayo News understands that the structure, which is free standing, had a method statement and a risk assessment analysis done in advance.
Joe McNamara is believed to have plans to put it up again in a permanent location although where this is remains unclear.
McNamara came to national prominence in 2010 for two protests in Dublin which earned him the moniker The Anglo Avenger. One incident saw him drive a cement mixer to the gates of Leinster House while another saw him park a cherry picker outside Leinster House. Both protests were against Anglo Irish Bank whom McNamara owed money to.
In November 2011, over the course of one weekend, McNamara led the construction of Achill-henge on a hilltop above Pollagh on Achill Island. Believed to represent a tomb to the Celtic Tiger, the 15 feet high, 30 metres in diameter structure was built without planning permission and was the subject of a lengthy court process.
In the end McNamara was ordered to take it down and Mayo County Council said that if he did not take it down, they would. However, over three years on the structure is still standing and the source close to McNamara told The Mayo News that the controversial former property developer intends to go back to Achill to ‘finish what he started in Achill-henge’.
It is believed that a centre-piece for Achill-henge has been built, though never installed.