The First Dáil

“Countess Markievicz – first woman to be a member of the 1st Dáil and the 1st woman in the world to hold a cabinet position as minister for labour 1919-1922.” Markievicz is shown here in civilian garb with a Cumann na mBan pin – compare with the previous mural celebrating the centenary of CnamB. The first Dáil Éireann met in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin (residence of the Lord Mayor) on January 21st, 1919. 35 Sinn Féin deputies – including Markievicz – were absent because they were “fé ghlas ag Gallaibh” (“imprisoned by foreigners”) and four more “ar díbirt ag Gallaibh” (deported by foreigners); Unionist members including Edward Carson did not attend (The Irish Story). Among its business was the adoption of a Declaration Of Irish Independence (title page shown on the right).
The photograph reproduced is of the crowd awaiting news of a truce in the War Of Independence in July 1921 (WP).
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Wear Your Easter Lily With Pride

16 republicans, the seven signatories of the Proclamation among them, were executed in the wake of the Easter Rising, 14 of them in Dublin in a 10-day period from May 3rd to 12th. They are depicted in this Saoradh  (web | tw) poster blindfolded and wearing suits: (from left to right) Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh, Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly, William Pearse, Michael O’Hanrahan, John MacBride, Éamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Seán Heuston, Con Colbert, James Connolly, Seán MacDiarmada, Thomas Kent, and Roger Casement. Their deaths and the Rising are commemorated in Belfast each Easter with a parade
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Cross Of Crosses

“The Cross Of Crosses – marking 45 years of conflict in Northern Ireland 1969-2014. Let this be the year the conflict ends. [sponsored by] George McIlroy IGNITE 2014.” “Forget me not – remembering those who lost their lives to suicide.” The sculpture, which contains 45 small crosses, was designed by Ross Wilson.
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Stop The Witch Hunt

21 soldiers of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on marchers in Derry on January 30th, 1972, killing thirteen people (on the day; one more died later). One of them – codenamed “Soldier F” – was charged last month by the Public Prosecution Service in the deaths of James Wray and William McKinney and wounding of four others. Family members of the deceased reacted with disappointment (e.g. BBC-NI | Kate Nash on Twitter) while others, such as pressure group Justice For NI Veterans decried the PPS decision. The poster above (which is being pasted in north and west Belfast and perhaps beyond) is in support of Soldier F; it shows protesters facing off against British soldiers in William Street shortly before they opened fire. (See also And The Next Moment …) The Paratroop flag is shown flying on the Ballysillan Road.
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Not Politically Correct

Former TUV but now independent Councillor Jolene Bunting (web) was elected from the Court district in west Belfast in 2014. Her 2019 campaign posters (seen here around Lanark Way and Shankill Road) have drawn criticism (NewsLetter) – in addition to those shown here are “Put veterans before immigrants” and “Local homes for local people”. Her appeal against a 4-month suspension for anti-Islamic remarks was rejected last week, despite her claim that elected representatives have enhanced freedom of speech (Irish Times).
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An Unrepentant Republican

Continuity IRA or Irish Republican National Congress (IRNC – see Join The IRNC and Maid Of Erin) member Niall Lehd was initially arrested on explosives charges in 2014 (BBC-NI) and given early release in 2016 (An Phoblacht) but returned to jail a year ago, in March of 2018 (Irish News). In December he was charged on several counts relating to terrorism and explosives (Belfast Live). Lehd professes his innocence and says his license was revoked simply because he is “an unrepentant republican” (Free Niall Lehd campaign). His cause has been added to the IRPC (Irish Republican Prisoners Committee | Fb) board on Northumberland Street.
See previously: a White Line Picket in support of Lehd.
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Inspire, Uphold, And Make Happy

The wall at the top of Springhill Avenue was knocked down to great acclaim in 2017 (Guardian) but the impact was merely cosmetic as a wire fence and substantial shrubbery continued to block the way. The removal of the wall also meant the removal of the pro-Palestinian murals painted on it: Palestine Abú | Man Against Machine | Hellfire. In its place has now been put a large board celebrating the history of the area and especially the contribution made by Des Wilson and Noelle Ryan who worked in Springhill House for over forty years. Both Des and Noelle were interviewed by NVTv in 2012. Des turned 93 in July (encomium by Gerry Adams); Noelle died in 2014 (An PhoblachtBBC-NI).

The left hand side of the mural shows Mother Teresa, who lived and worked in the area with four nuns from 1971 to 1973 before being put out (allegedly) by the Catholic church (TripleVision documentary).

On the right, the old and new Springhills are contrasted, with images taken from the same spot approximately 30 years apart.

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Unknown Soldier

As time passes, volunteers who survived the Troubles are being taken by natural causes. There are thousands of such people and it is not clear on what grounds some will be publicly commemorated and others not – it might as simple as whether surviving friends and family take the pains to do so. See, for example, the plaques of republican ex-prisoners being added to a wall in Ardoyne (Door Into The Dark). The plaques above “In loving memory of Volunteer Dennis/Denis Brine, associated with Glasgow Red Hand Commandos” are in the lower Shankill estate.
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Live Here, Love Here

The entrance to Springhill now has two walls full of images of “community pride”. The northern side was featured previously (see The Past And The Present) and today we feature the southern side. In order from left to right (see the wide shot, last): Corpus Christi youth centre; Corpus Christi Church (“47 years at the heart of the community”, including photos of Hugh Mullan (killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre) and Noel Fitzpatrick (killed in the Springhill/Westrock Massacre); murals in Divismore, Springmadden, and Springhill (shown above); the garden at the top of Springhill park; and photographs of “Springhill, then and now”.
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A True Soldier Of Ulster

“On a cold Friday afternoon in February 1989, a young Red Hand Commando volunteer, Stevie McCrea, gave up his life to save others during an attack by the IPLO – a republican drug gang – at the Orange Cross Club just off the Shankill Road. Stevie, who was celebrating his last day on a work-out scheme with friends, went to the club for a farewell drink. A short time later, after gaining access through the outer door of the club, three IPLO gunmen burst into the main bar and started shooting indiscriminately. Stevie reacted immediately, placing himself between the gunmen and his friends. He was shot a number of times. Sadly he died from his injuries two days later. Stevie, even as a young man was a willing and active volunteer for the RHC, which culminated with him being arrested in October 1972 and being sentenced to life imprisonment early in 1973. Stevie served 16 years as a political prisoner in Long Kesh. He thoughtlessly gave up his life for others. A true soldier of Ulster. Forever remembered by friends and comrades. Lamh death abu.”
The obituary in the March 1998 issue of Combat states that McCrea was no longer in the RHC after his release from prison.
This new photographic mural, with “Loyalist Compound 21, Long Kesh prison camp” as a background, replaces a painted one to McCrea that had stood since 2000.
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