Don’t Play England’s Game

“No extradition! Don’t play England’s game” – after years of legal wrangling, Liam Campbell was extradited to Lithuania on charges of procuring weapons for the Real IRA (BBC | Saoradh). See previously: Silence Is Complicity. Ciarán Maguire was handed over to the PSNI by Gardaí in April 2021 (Donegal Daily).

The boards shown above and at bottom are in Thames Street (Falls) and Brompton Park (Ardoyne). The small diamond version (also in Ardoyne) is mounted above one of the “Slow – Go mall” signs from Sinn Féin that were described as “intimidatory” by local DUP Assembly member and are perhaps also illegal under the Roads Order (NI) 1993 (Belfast Live).

For the Ard Eoin Kickhams mural, see The Heart Of Our Community.

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The Rising Of The Moon

The moon rises over Thompson’s feed on York Road while the sun sets over the New Lodge tower blocks, most of which have the portraits of two deceased hunger strikers from the 70s and 80s on them, including Francis Hughes on Teach Mhéabha. (See New Lodge Flats for a full list.)

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Remember Your Neighbourhood

“A scramble for the window seat/Steam curls as the whistle blows/Clickety clack train on track.//Remember your neighbourhood in the late afternoon sun/The district was a different place then/All you owned was a box full of toys and a smile on your face.”

The York Road railway station was a few minutes’ walk below Ritchie Street – site of this mural and community garden – until it closed in 1992. The original line was to Ballymena and then Coleraine and London-/Derry, with service to Carrick and Larne added later. It was badly damaged in WWII and its final demise came with the opening of Belfast Central in 1976 (WP). It was replaced with Yorkgate in 1992 which no longer serves as a terminus (WP), but the line still runs along behind the end of the streets along York Road and the Grove area of the Shore Road.

Ritchie Street, Belfast

Previously in Ritchie St: Union Flag

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Competing In Europe

There was plenty of support in Belfast for Scottish club Glasgow Rangers as they travelled to Seville last week to compete in the Europa League (previously the “UEFA Cup”) final – the initial images in today’s post show a huge number of banners outside the Berlin Bar on the Shankill (see previously Inter City Regiment), a scarf in the West Kirk Presbyterian (Fb) graveyard (see Who Went To War And Never Returned), and – on the Shore Road in north Belfast – the flag of the Netherlands pressed into service for its red, white, and blue.

Rangers lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt and attention now turns to Liverpool’s match against Real Madrid this Saturday in the Champions League final in the Stade De France in Paris. There is already some support for Liverpool on display in Belfast, as illustrated by the West Kirk graveyard (again) and a flag of the manger and stars à la Abbey Road in the Village (south Belfast) – the “Fab Four” are manager Jürgen Klopp of Germany, and players Virgil Van Dijk of The Netherlands, Sadio Mané of Senegal, and Mo Salah of Egypt. Here is a list of all the Liverpool supporters clubs in NI.

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Christmas In Prison

A crude engraving about the size of your hand found on the wall of the B-wing yard in Crumlin Road Gaol (now a tourist attraction and conference centre): a Celtic cross with knot-work and “Jim Keenan – Xmas 1942”.

Below is a picture of the gaol from September 15th, 1942, thirteen days after Tom Williams was hanged (see the plaque to his memory in Bombay Street).

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Had Enough?

The NI Assembly election is this day week (Thursday May 5th). Here is another gallery of electoral posters. Where last week’s selection included a Noah Donahoe placard in electoral style, this weeks’ includes one for New Life City Church (ig), again in the style of an electoral candidate: “He’s not after your vote, he’s after your heart.” Also shown are: (above) TUV’s ‘don’t hope; vote’; Sinn Féin’s “Time for real change” on top of a “spoil your vote” stencil; the PUP’s “country before party” with anti-woke independent Tony Mallon’s “We the people”; and last, Neil Moore of the Socialist Party “We can’t afford this system” (namely, capitalism).

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What Did You Do In The Election?

Today is the last day to register to vote in the May 5th Assembly election. You can register on-line at gov.uk. Currently, 1.4 million people are registered in Northern Ireland (BBC). As today’s images make clear, the poles of Belfast are already cluttered with placards for the various candidates, as well as the salient issues, such as the “sea border” and the death of Noah Donohoe.

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The Joy Of Our Hearts

The Newington tribute to Bobby Sands and the other deceased hunger strikers of the 1970s and 80s (see previously: Mol An Óige Agus Tiocfaidh Sí) has been augmented with four plaques to republicans from the area who died in the Troubles: (l-r) Martin McDonagh, Rosemary Bleakley, Colm Mulgrew, and Sean ‘Maxi’ McIvenna.

Unbeknowst to her parents (Lost Lives), Bleakley had joined Cumann Na mBan at 18 and was four days short of her nineteenth birthday when she and McDonagh were killed in a premature bomb explosion in the North Street arcade (Victor Patterson image of the blast), along with civilians Ian Gallagher and Mary Dornan (Sutton); 20 others were injured (Fortnight). Bleakley was not buried in the republican plot (in Milltown) but coincidentally in the plot adjacent to Dornan (BBC).

Bleakley was portrayed in the old New Lodge Volunteers mural.

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Ordinary People

This is an update to End The Sanctions! We’re Freezing, which has now been changed to “Sanctions only hurt ordinary people”, perhaps including the “ordinary people” of Russia alongside those of the New Lodge.

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Remember The Hunger Strikers

Here are two IRSP pieces commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike. The first, above and immediately below, is from Ard Eoin/Ardoyne (Béal Feirste/Belfast) with colour (or at least, colour-ised) portraits of the ten who died on either side of an image from Keven Lynch’s funeral cortège. It is the same as the board seen on the lower Falls in For A Socialist Republic. At the bottom is a poster from Strabane calling people to gather in remembrance in Derry.

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