Spy Count

“700+ MI5 agents in Ireland.” Lasair Dhearg (twweb) and Red Section (Fb) stencils in Beechmount Avenue protesting the continued presence of British security forces on the island of Ireland. The 700 number comes from reports of additional MI5 agents in the wake of a New IRA car bomb in January (IntelNewsTimes | Irish Central).

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This Was Once The Dole Office

The ‘jobs and benefit office’ in Exchange Street was originally built in 1926 for what was then the Northern Ireland Ministry of Labour and was the largest job centre in the UK. It functioned until 2016 and was demolished in 2017 (FutureBelfast). In its early life it was next to the Mariner’s Church of Ireland between Great and Little Patrick streets (FutureBelfast). The banner now on the site – This Was Once Little Italy – was designed by Deirdre McKenna and erected in July, 2019 (BelTel).

See previously: Jobs That Aren’t There in 2013

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Concerned Unionists

“Public meeting. Concerned unionists of south Belfast. Wednesday 6th November 7.15 pm Sandy Row Orange Hall. Stop the #BetrayalAct”. Tonight will see a meeting in south Belfast (and another at the same time in Antrim) discussing the current Conservative Brexit plan that would allow some cross-border economic activity to continue – see The Betrayal Act. “VTOT” is “Village Team On Tour“.

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The Betrayal Act

Is Brexit more important than the Union? Conservative party leader Boris Johnson, whose current plan involves a border in the Irish Sea, is depicted as betraying the sacrifice of the Ulster Volunteers, formed in 1912 to resist the threat of Home Rule. In response, meetings are being held in different unionist areas: November 1st saw meetings in north Belfast and on the Shankill; meetings are scheduled in Sandy Row and the Steeple (Antrim) for Wednesday the 6th. Rallies and civil disobedience are being contemplated but also that the DUP would join Remainers in order to stop Brexit entirely. “Ulster says “No” to an economic united Ireland”.

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Merdeka

Merdeka! Independence! West Papuans live under Indonesian rule since 1962 when United States, in the guise of the UN, “entrusted” the territory to Indonesia in exchange for a captured CIA pilot (WP). Leader-in-exile Benny Wenda is shown here against a backdrop of the flag of (independent) West Papua, the Morning Star, shown here hanging vertically.

The adjacent mural expresses solidarity with the Syrian Kurds – see Rojava Offensive.

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Barack O’Bama

Former US President Barack Obama with a Tricolour lei. Spotted in an upstairs window in Ireton Street.

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Volunteer, Brigadier, Ulsterman

Tommy Herron was kidnapped and executed in September 1973, perhaps by members of his own East Belfast UDA brigade (Holland | BelTel). His 18-year-old brother-in-law had been killed at his house in June (WP). Despite the internal conflict over Herron’s position and profiteering, 25,000 people attended his funeral and hearkened to the word of the Reverend Ian Paisley (AP video | Patterson images). The video shows ranks of UDA volunteers marching in the procession; the mural was launched with (two) masked UDA volunteers flanking speaker Dee Stitt (for whom see previously Welcome To The Jungle) (BelTel).

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Reject Brexit

Sinn Féin is using the threat of a “hard border, job losses, food shortages” due to Brexit to encourage people to vote (at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote). The next Assembly elections are scheduled for 2022; a Westminster vote might come somewhat sooner.

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We Await In The Shadows

Ten years after ending its armed campaign, the Red Hand Commando in 2017 applied to be de-proscribed, on the basis that it had given up its arms in 2009 and transformed itself into an ‘old comrades association’ (see the emblem in the bottom left of the wide shot) (BBC | NewsLetter). According to this mural, however, B company is ready to reform in response to those who “play with peace”, fifty years later (or so – the mural claims the group was founded in 1970; other sources give 1972 (WP cites Peter Taylor).

“50 years has passed/We were forced to don our masks/Don’t play with peace/Or attack our land/We await in the shadows/B Coy Red Hand”

Replaces the ‘99.9% need not apply‘ RHC mural.

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An Tusa An Chéad Laoch Eile?

Padraig Pearse was a schoolmaster (at St Enda’s in Dublin) and wrote about the importance of education to the character of the nation. He described the English education system in Ireland as a “murder machine“. In a pamphlet of that name he writes, “Education has not to do with the manufacture of things, but with fostering the growth of things. And the conditions we should strive to bring about in our education system are not the conditions favourable to the rapid and cheap manufacture of ready-mades, but the conditions available to the growth of living organisms – the liberty and the light and the gladness of a ploughed field under the spring sunshine.” on which the Irish above might possibly be based (though he wrote about 50 pieces on education): “Is é an tsamhail a bheirim don oideachas, ní rud a dhéanfa ar líne chóimeála i monarcha ach bláth i ngairdín a chothaíonn tú le mórchuid grá agus cúraim.” [I take as a likeness of education not something that is made on an assembly line in a factory but a flower in a garden that you nourish with great love and care.] For some background, see Pearse The Educationalist. Pearse’s likeness and philosophy of education are posted at the entrance to Coláiste Feirste.

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