Your Country Needs You

“The UDA formed in 1971 as an umbrella for Loyalist Vigilante groups being formed. There [sic] role to defend the Protestant community from IRA violence. They remain today. Ask yourself this question: When the battle has been finally won, will I be able to stand and be counted amongst the men won it? Make sure the answer is yes – join your local unit of the UDA. Your country needs you.” This is an addition to the panels shown in Show No Mercy, Expect None Back.

And (on the other side of the street) the tarp is an addition to the slogans shown in 2016’s We Will Never Accept A United Ireland. “We remember our culture, from the siege of Derry to the battle of the Boyne. ‘No Surrender’.”

For the Varadkar poster, A Return To Violence.

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Copyright © 2023 Paddy Duffy

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Welcome To The Grange Estate

An explicitly UDA mural returns to the Grange estate (Ballyclare); the previous Young Guns board fell down. Two men were imprisoned in October (2022) (Belfast Live) and November (4NI), the former from the estate, in connection with investigations into the Ballyclare UDA in February, 2021. Two others were arrested in Larne and Ballyclare in September (BelTel).

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To The Very Death

“‘Let no man ever think for a moment that I will not stand to the very death if it is necessary in the interests of Ulster and of the Ulster people.’ Captain James Craig, first prime minister of Northern Ireland.”

To go with the fighting words, Craig is shown here in military uniform – though he was a young man when joined the Royal Irish Rifles and served in South Africe for two years (1899-1901), with the Imperial Yeomanry and the Imperial Military Railways. As the politician who was instrumental in the Ulster Volunteers and the creation of Northern Ireland (and prime minister until his death in 1940), he is usually shown in civilian clothes – see e.g. Floreat Ultona | Ulster Welcomes Her King & Queen | Because He Loves What Is Behind Him

The source of the quote is unknown – please comment or get in touch if you can say what it is from. It’s also not clear what uniform Craig is wearing – the cap badge is the ‘lion on crown’ used e.g. by officers of the Devonshire yeomanry; it is perhaps a officer’s dress uniform for the Imperial Military Railways (though see the IMR pouch badge). Craig was also assistant adjutant to the 36th Division (DIB).

Erskine Park, Ballyclare

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Staunch We Will Remain

This is an update to the WWI ‘Ballyclare & District’ mural in Charles Drive. Originally, in 2016 there was ‘South East Antrim’ lettering on the side-wall to the right; in 2019 the orange board with words from Binyon’s For The Fallen (shown last below) was added to the left; on the right now is the board shown above: “The blood of our comrades shed/Shall not have been in vain/We honour Ulster’s dead/And staunch we will remain.” The same lines were used in Ballymoney and in Cloughfern.

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At Home And Abroad

Side by side in Erskine Park, Ballyclare: a memorial to the 36th (Ulster) Division of the World War of 1914-1918 and “Thank you NHS and all key workers” of the global pandemic, 2020-2023.

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1912-1921

“When Ulster men are proudly glad of the land where they were born/And when England’s cry for help was heard we told them have no fear/For across the flanders fields we send our Ulster Volunteers.”

These are just a few lines from the song First Of July Morn and are used here to recall how the Ulster Volunteers – formed to fight against the imposition of Home Rule – became the 36th Division in WWI, and suggest that the British government should continue to support the Northern Ireland state beyond its one-hundedth anniversary and the current impasse over the NI Protocol of Brexit as a reward for loyalty.

The song’s alternate titles “England’s Treachery” or “Englishman’s Betrayal” give a better feel for the attitude of the whole thing: that England betrayed Ulster by having “sold away” the three counties of Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan, and that “Ulster men” should “never more be led away, to fight in foreign lands/Not to die, for someone else’s cause, at an Englishman’s command” (youtube). The application to the current situation would then be that loyalism cannot rely on the good nature of the English and should ready itself for “perfidious Albion” to (try to) give away the six counties as well.

“Ballyclare says no to a Irish Sea border.” “Loyalist Ballyclare will never accept an border in the Irish Sea.” “The Belfast Agreement has been broken – the deal’s off.”

Ballynure Rd/Main Street, Ballyclare, next to The Comrades.

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Our Soldiers Are Heroes

“Ballyclare supports Soldier ‘F’. Our soldiers are heroes, not criminals.” “Soldier F” is the pseudonym of a British Army paratrooper who faces charges of murdering two civilians, William McKinney and Jim Wray, in Derry on Bloody Sunday (January 30th, 1972), as well as five counts of attempted murder. Proceedings began in September (BelTel), a witness list was presented in December (BBC-NI), and the case will resume on January 17th.

Main Street, Ballyclare.

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Nihil Nisi Optimi

Ballyclare Comrades football club – motto is ‘Nihil nisi optimi’ [nothing but the best] – was founded in 1919 by members of the local Great War ‘comrades’ association. That heritage is used here for the Ballyclare Protestant Boys flute band. In the centre, between images from WWI, the flowers of the four ‘home nations’ are joined by orange lilies, and in the shield are the lion and the unicorn from the coat of arms of the UK.

“To Flanders fields some men in our town were sent and along their way many would repent their priority goal to keep Ulster free that we may have freedom both you and me as part of Great Britain they fought and died and their names we will remember and remember with pride. Lest we forget. Comrades from Ballyclare. Nihil nisi optimi. The Comrades.” “Ballyclare Protestant Boys Est. 2004”

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UDA Remembers

“[South East Antrim] UDA remembers. ‘They shall not grow old/As we that are left grow old/Age shall not wary them/Nor the years condemn/At the going down of the sun/And in the morning/We will remember them’ [The Fallen]” For the large mural, see The Men From Ballyclare & District. Charles Drive, Ballyclare.

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All Ulster’s Soldiers

“We support all Ulster’s soldiers.” The UDA and the UDR brought under the same umbrella of “Ulster’s defenders” in Charles Drive, Ballyclare. The UDR was established in 1970 to relieve the RUC and B Specials of military operations and was disbanded in 1992, in part because it was only 3% Catholic and 5-15% of members had links to loyalist paramilitaries (Irish News). 

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