McKelvey & Steele

This tarp, above the office of Sinn Féin Poblachtach and the Happy House on the Falls Road, celebrates two previous generations of IRA leadership. Joe McKelvey was commander of the Belfast Brigade of the IRA in the War Of Independence but against the Treaty; he was executed in December, 1922, for occupying the Four Courts in June (WP). Jimmy Steele was a leader in the Belfast IRA from the 1920s to 1960s and the first editor of Republican News; he died shortly after the split (WP).

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Perverting The Course Of Justice

Here is another set of images concerned with the on-going search for answers related to the death of teenager Noah Donohoe and to the PSNI inquiry into his death. It is now 67 weeks since Noah’s death and a new Facebook page has been set up to campaign for justice, and a petition to demand the resignation of Chief Constable Simon Byrne. These images are from the upper Falls and New Lodge areas of Belfast.

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Faces Of Death

The ‘Hidden Treasure’ wild-style writing that in 2004 replaced the UDA C company mural from the Johnny Adair era on Beverley Street has itself now been partially replaced with the paintings (by Emic) of soldiers from the Shankill killed during WWI that were previously exhibited in the Shankill graveyard.

For more on the Shankill-Falls “peace” line and the early graffiti art that was used to re-image it, see Visual History 09 – Re-Imaging.

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Unrepentant Republicans

These two new boards along the Falls Road were mounted by Belfast RNU (tw), commemorating the actions of Billy McKee, Alec Murphy, and Brendan Hughes in 1969 at the onset of the Troubles, and of Máire Drumm and “the brave women of Belfast who stood up against the might of the British” in bringing the Falls Curfew to an end. (This board was previously a mural on Divis Street.)

McKee and Hughes are profiled in a D Company mural in the number one spot of the International Wall. Murphy died in 2019 “unrepentant” of his republicanism (which was prompted by the Falls Curfew) and in particular his conviction along with Harry Maguire for the Corporal Killings (Irish News | BelTel). For a personal obituary, see The Pensive Quill.

For the plaque and board to the left of the wide shot below, see The Falls Road Massacre.

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Who Should Put Away Their Guns

Norah McCabe was shot in the back of the head by a plastic bullet fired from an RUC land rover at around 7:45 a.m. on July 9th, 1981, the day after hunger striker Joe McDonnell died. (Danny Barrett would be killed by a British Army sniper in the evening.) The new boards were mounted to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of McCabe’s death. In 1981, a mural was painted at the same spot (in the old Linden Street) to protest the use of plastic bullets: see Plastic Death.

“Norah McCabe, 1947-1981, murdered by an RUC plastic bullet on 9th July 1981, aged 33 years.” With a poem “Peace” by daughter Áine McCabe, who was three months old when her mother was killed (Irish News).

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Defending Freedom From Hate

Compared to the UVF, the UDA more strongly detect an existential threat to loyalism and evince a siege mentality that provokes the need for armed resistance. Hence the more frequent presence of armed gunmen in UDA murals (which is also due in part to the UVF being able to “re-image” around the Ulster Volunteers and the Somme). With Brexit and the Protocol, however, armed gunmen have recently been appearing more frequently in UVF murals – see, for example, If Our Shores Are Threatened | Bang Up To Date | Our British Identity.

“Springmartin–Highfield–Glencairn Ulster Defence Association est. 1971. Defending freedom from hate.” As the companion mural (We Will Take Nothing Less) makes clear, the hate is coming from a “fascist republican enemy” (“Sinn Féin/IRA”, presumably) and the government of Ireland. Graphically, this mural is the same as the previous one on this wall: Under The Protection Of The UDA.

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We Will Take Nothing Less

An estimated 100,000 people congregated at Craigavon House on the 23rd of September, 1911, to hear Edward Carson’s inaugural speech as Unionist leader (McNeill Ch. 4). In his speech he said “Our demand is a simple one. We ask for no privileges, but we are determined that no one shall have privileges over us. We ask for no special rights, but we claim the same rights from the same government as every other part of the United Kingdom. We ask for nothing more; we will take nothing less”. Ten years later, in 1921, Northern Ireland was created and it has survived to reach its centenary, despite (according to this mural) “100 years of fighting a fascist republican enemy sponsored by the Irish state.”

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White Dove

The white dove (an albino rock dove/pigeon) is a domesticated bird and so not commonly seen in wilds of Belfast’s gardens and hills. It is probably more commonly seen in murals, serving as a symbol for the peace process (see “Hawks” & Doves). This one, by emic (web | tw | ig), can be seen at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill.

More street art at the Spectrum Centre: Half Human | Not Today, Satan. Not Today | Loyalist Or Racist

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Blue Tit

The Blue Tit (Cyanistes Caeruleus | Meantán Gorm) is a common bird around Belfast. This one can be seen at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill.

More street art at the Spectrum Centre: Half Human | Not Today, Satan. Not Today | Loyalist Or Racist

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BLM Scum

The height of anti-BLM sentiment came last year (2020) when the statue of Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square was vandalised and boarded up for protection, lest it suffer the same fate as the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol (iNews | NYTimes) met at the hands of protestors marching in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA (for CNR support for see An Injustice To One Is An Injustice To All | You Cannot Put A Knee Upon The Neck Of An Idea | Here To Stay | Black Lives Matter). The graffiti in the Woodvale (below) is from 2021, however. The graffiti above is in the Highfield area.

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