The Pogrom Of August 1969

This August marks the 50th anniversary of what are euphemistically called “The Troubles”. The Battle Of The Bogside (Derry) began on August 12th; in Belfast, fighting began on the night of August 14th and before dawn three people in the Divis Street area were dead: Protestant Herbert Roy and Catholics Patrick Rooney and Hugh McCabe, both shot in the Divis flats complex by the RUC’s Shorland armoured cars. (Two other Catholics were killed in rioting in Ardoyne.) This new board is on Divis tower, next to the plaque commemorating Rooney and McCabe.

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X05989 X05990 “Ar eagla go ndéanfadh muid dearmad” [for fear we would forget/lest we forget] “erected by the falls commemoration committee” ‘time for truth” “malone road fiddles”  “barricades stay until demands are met”

Michael McCartan

“Michael was born 4th March 1964 to parents Charlie and Molly. Charlie was originally from Raglan Street and Molly was from Stanfield Street and they move to 13 Artana Street in February 1963. They had seven children: Michael, Sean, Dermot, Martin, Conor, Marie and Roisin. Michael was educated at Holy Rosary PS and St Augustine’s Secondary School and was due to start an apprenticeship in joinery and plastering. Michael was a typical teenager. He loved spending time with his mates but as the eldest child he was very helpful to his parents. On the day of his murder he had been helping his father paint the house. On 23rd July 1980 Michael, aged 16, was playing cards with his mates in the ‘nook’ at Ormeau Bridge. Getting bored, Michael got some paint and painted a slogan on the adjacent wall. He was seen by two plainclothes RUC men in an unmarked van. Without warning, Michael was shot by one of the RUC men and died shortly after. Nobody was ever convicted of Michael’s murder. Unveiled by his mother Molly 4th March 2019.” Father Raymond Murray, who with Fr Dennis Faul wrote a report on McCartan’s death, was also at the launch.

The killing of Michael McCartan by an RUC officer named McKeown was long ago (in the 1980s) depicted in a mural in Oakman Street: They Murder The People And Have No Shame.

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Can The Centre Hold?

In 2017 the New Lodge anti-internment bonfire was removed by the Housing Executive based on concerns that it was too close to buildings (BBC-NI) and in 2018 community negotiations arranged for it not to be built at all, in exchange for tickets to a Féile concert (Republican News | IRSP). But the bonfire is back this year, built directly on Queens Parade, and with it the anti-social behaviour that is thought by some (e.g. Alex Maskey) to be the real reason for the bonfire. “Such is the lawlessness,” reports the Irish News (one | two), that youths minding the fire have been seen powering an Xbox from a lamppost. Also, four nights of rioting (NewsLetter | iTV). In response to the growing attention, the graffiti above (“Our wood goes, this centre goes”) has appeared on a wall of the North Belfast Family Centre, along with graffiti threatening Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee (see image below; Magee commented on the 2016 bonfire dispute in this Slugger article) and against any contractors who might be hired to remove the materials. As of 7 p.m. last night, the bonfire was still in place. If it has not been removed (by the Department Of Infrastructure) it will be lit tonight.

For the phrasing, see previously: Our Wood Goes Your Windows Go in Longlands.
For threats against contractors, see previously: Masked Republican Mercenaries.

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X06739 X06743 X06740 [X06741] [X06742] “JJ we know your address”

Groves Reilly Corner

Throughout the Troubles the junction of the Glen and Falls Road was home to an intensely fortified RUC barracks. The barracks was demolished in 2005 and gradually redeveloped over the years. In January (2019) it was renamed in honour of activists Emma Groves and Clara Reilly who campaigned for decades against plastic bullets (Groves was blinded in 1972 by a plastic bullet fire by a Paratrooper) and founder members of Relatives For Justice (web). For images from the launch, see Irish Examiner.

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Time For Irish Unity

Sinn Féin joined the IRSP ‘Yes For Unity’ campaign (Fb | tw) for a vote on Irish reunification with a shared meeting in late 2018 (Irish News). The two campaign boards shown here (at the Glen Road-Falls Road junction and at the top of the New Lodge) are in the same style of these two IRSP ‘Yes For Unity’ boards from 2018.

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Make Your Mama Cry

“It’s no lie – drugs will make your mama cry!”Sisters Bridget and Geraldine McKay died within three weeks of each other, one from heroin and the other from prescription dugs (iTV | BelfastLiveBelTel). Between them, they leave nine children behind. The graffiti above is at the Colin transport hub, not far from Geraldine’s Suffolk Road home; Bridget lived in the New Lodge flats.

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Cross Roads

You can enter the Finn Square cul de sac, but you might not make it out.
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Gateway To West Belfast

Fáilte Feirste Thiar‘s second mural (the first is outside its offices in the middle Falls – see Go West) reinforces the claim that (republican) west Belfast begins as soon as you cross the motorway, five minutes’ walk from the city centre. Coiste’s tour of republican murals begins at Divis Tower and the new mural already seems to be drawing tourists – see the final image, below. The previous Coiste mural (M04900) has been deleted and incorporated into the mural, promising touraists “a unique walking tour by former political prisoners”.

The mural is a mix of landmarks – the new Raidió Fáilte building (which is located just below the mural), Divis tower, St Peter’s, Conway Mill, the so-called “international wall” of murals, the Bobby Sands mural, the Falls library, the new James Connolly centre, Cultúrlann, and Milltown cemetery – cultural images (Irish dancing and Féile An Phobail) – and sporting images (clubs include Immaculata ABC, Gort Na Móna GAC, St Paul’s GAC). A gay pride ‘rainbow’ stripe runs below the Divis Street portion. Before the previous mural was painted (M07533), there was a Gateway To Belfast board at this spot.
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X06650 X06649 X06653 [X06651] Marty Lyons Micky Doherty

Murdered By Those Who Followed In Their Footsteps

The “Provisional” split from the IRA in early 1970 and the feud between the Provos and the “Official” IRA went on intermittently throughout the 70s. This board on Teach Oisín in the New Lodge commemorates three local OIRA members who were (or, were thought) killed in the feud (John) Mario Kelly was killed in Newington near his home in November 1975. Trever [Trevor] McNulty, education officer for the Republican Clubs and OIRA, was shot by the Provisionals in the entrance hall of Alexander House (later Teach Fhinn) in the New Lodge. 11 people, mostly OIRA, died in the feud in the two weeks from the tail end of October into November (CAIN). The third person shown is Patric​k​ McGreevy from Carlisle Square, a youth member aged 15 or 16 (hence the Gal Gréine) who was shot from a passing car outside a café on Clifton St​reet. Originally his killing was thought to be part of the feud (which explains his inclusion here), but it is now generally accepted that he was shot by the UVF (Lost Lives). 
The genealogy of the republican movement goes through the pike-men (silhouettes on the left and right) of 1798 and 1803 to the Easter Rising (the quote from James Connolly: “The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland and the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour”)
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Alternative Transport, Alternative Location

Pieces of the long Beechmount Avenue wall have moved to different locations due to the construction of new fencing and other improvements. The WBTA Alternative Transport board is now above the longest-surviving mural in Belfast, the Clowney Street phoenix.
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