Friday, October 19, 2012

The bizarre silence by the Birmingham Mail over the John F Kennedy memorial

The bizarre silence by the Birmingham Mail over the John F Kennedy memorial

The great thing about the internet is that you don’t need to rely on local newspapers to get your story out. Also, you can show stories that particular newspapers will not print, whilst other newspapers will. In this case, the Birmingham Mail is completely blanking out any stories about the outrageous inclusion of former Councillor Mike Nangle in the soon to be re-created John F Kennedy memorial in Digbeth. 

Having spent over 20 years writing press releases for the local media, I do feel I have a good feel for the type of subjects that different types of local media are interested in. This is one story, that I know would normally get into the Birmingham Mail. Indeed, this story was the front page story for the Birmingham-base Harp newspaper – see

I have also given the Birmingham Mail the contact details of three ‘movers and shakers’ in the Birmingham Irish community who are also outraged by the inclusion of former Councillor Mike Nangle in the mural. One of these contacts was on the original Birmingham Irish Catholic Committee in the 1960s that created the 1968 Kennedy memorial. Another contact is a well known member of the Birmingham Irish community and raised money for the 1968 memorial. Both of these members were prominent is saving parts of the Kennedy memorial when it was demolished in 2007. The third contact is a prominent cultural figure in the Birmingham Irish community.

I have also written a letter to the letters page of the Birmingham Mail – I’ve reproduced the text of the letter below. The letter was never published.

So why is Birmingham Mail refusing to mention anything about the appalling behaviour of the Birmingham Labour administration demanding the inclusion former Labour Councillor Mike Nangle in the Kennedy mural without any consultation with the Birmingham Irish community?
The text of my letter to the Birmingham Mail, which they will not publish is below: 
26th September 2012

Dear Sir,

I hope you will provide me with the chance to inform your readers of a recent decision by the Labour run Birmingham City Council to introduce party politics into the recreation of the John F Kennedy memorial in Digbeth.

Readers will be aware that the original memorial was unveiled in St Chads Circus in 1968. Unfortunately this memorial was demolished in 2007 for a major road junction, but plans were announced to recreate the memorial somewhere in Digbeth.

As the then Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and cClture I led the group that sought a new respectful location for the memorial. Prior to my inclusion there had been crazy proposals to have bits of the mural either above a shop front or on the gable end of Dubliner pub in Digbeth. Plus there were also proposals to include modern day figures such as Bob Geldof, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and recently deceased Labour Councillor Mike Nangle.

The group I led on consulted with the local Irish community and a new location on the corner of Floodgate Street and High Street Deritend was agreed. Plus it was agreed that the mural would not have modern figures, including former Councillor Mike Nangle, but remain exactly as it was in 1968.

The creation of the mural started last October and is now nearly finished. However, the new Labour administration has told the artist, Oliver Budd that they want former Labour Councillor Mike Nangle included in the mural.

Why is Mike Nangle included? Yes, Mike was a lovely person and he was someone I had many a pleasant pint of beer with at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley. But he had absolutely nothing to do with the creation or restoration of the Kennedy memorial. There are far more relevant people who could have been included in the memorial . For example Senator Bobby Kennedy? Father Maguire of St Catherine’s Church, Bristol Street who raised the money in 1968 to fund the mural? Members of the Irish Welfare, who with me, worked to find a new respectful site?

There has been no consultation with the local Irish community and the decision has been done in secret. It’s a ‘take it or lump’ decision that is becoming all too common with this new Labour run Council.

Martin Mullaney
Former Liberal Democrat Councillor for Moseley and Kings Heath Ward


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