Orange Fest

There is a now-annual campaign to discourage excessive drinking and focus on “heritage, tradition, respect, remembrance, culture” during 12th celebrations, rebranded as the more family-friendly “Orange Fest’. Sponsored by the Policing And Community Safety Partnership (web | tw | Fb) Here is 2016’s campaign: Battle Of The Bottle.
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Masked Republican Mercenaries

The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee of Belfast City Council decided on the 8th to remove two east Belfast bonfires built on council-owned land, carparks at the Avoniel leisure centre and in Ashdale Street, after staff arriving for work reported being threatened (BBC), perhaps by bonfire-builders reacting to the removal of tyres in Lismore Street (ITV) (see A Vote For The IRA). In response, builders of the Avoniel pyre removed its tyres, lowered its height, and moved it further away from buildings, but the Council affirmed its decision. A crowd of about 400 gathered to protect the site on Tuesday evening (BBC) and barricaded the site. The graffiti shown above appeared, calling contractors “masked republican mercenaries” and vowing that if they interfered they would “Attack loyalism at your own risk!!!” On Wednesday (1oth) the Council committee again affirmed its decision (Ailerain) but expressed concern over information of possible UVF involvement (Belfast Live) supplied in a letter from the PSNI (Mark Simpson).  (The mural is the background is a UDA one. See Northern Island.) The barricades were removed on Wednesday (as the image below shows). A contractor hired to remove the fire pulled out (BBC) on Wednesday evening. A “cultural celebration” was held throughout the night (BelTel).
The Ashdale Street fire was moved to a different location, near the Oval (BBC) and was set alight last night (BelTel).
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A Vote For The IRA

1,800 tyres were removed from the bonfire in Lismore Street this week by contractors in “armoured Land Rovers” (according to by Robert Girvin, East Belfast Cultural Collective, to the BBC; see this gallery of images at Belfast Live) working for Belfast City Council. PUP councillor John Kyle spoke out in favour of their removal (twitter | Belfast Live). Local residents have interpreted his comments as treasonous, with three pieces of graffiti painted in the area, one on Roseberry Road next to Young’s fish and chips (above), one on London Road (below), and at the bonfire site on Lismore Street (final image): “A vote for John Kyle is a vote for [the] IRA.” The graffiti has been criticised by unionists – PUP | DUP – though Jamie Bryson suggested that the Council was pushing unionists and the PSNI into conflict.

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Herbie McCallum

The memorial to Brian “Herbie” McCallum at the top of Ainsworth Avenue received a major upgrade late last year, with two new plaques and a mural (shown above) along with a side wall that will be featured in a separate post. The long plaque reads: “June 1993 brought extreme Republican violence and agitation surrounding the annual Orange Whiterock parade, which was travelling its traditional route past this very spot and onto the Springfield Road. The threat being so severe to this community, the 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force deployed several armed active service units. Herbie being Herbie was first to volunteer for duty. Realising the grenade he had been issued with had malfunctioned and giving absolutely no consideration for his own safety, he carried the device to a safe location, away from men, women and children. This one selfless act costs Herbie his life when the grenade detonated prematurely. Volunteer Brian “Herbie” McCallum died 29th June 1993. Sadly missed by his family friends and comrades. Rest easy soldier your duty is done. For God and Ulster.” McCallum died three days after the explosion.
The plaque from the original memorial (which dates back to 1994) has also been retained (above the one shown next, below): see Some Day Soon We’ll March Proudly On Parade.
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“There is discipline in a volunteer/You can see it when he walks/There is honour in a volunteer,/You can hear it when he talks/There is courage in a volunteer,/You can see it in his eyes/There is loyalty in a volunteer/That he will not compromise.”

“We will remember him. The officers and members of Sweeney’s ‘A’ Company 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.”

Another Hole In The Wall

The solid gates at the eastern (city centre) end of the west Belfast “peace” line have been replaced with see-through gates. The plans were released back in February (Belfast Live). Most of the Mickey Marley mural on the left (from the nationalist side) remains. According to the PA, the gates dated to 1992. Other gates have been similarly upgraded: see the gates in Workman Avenue (See-Through Sectarianism) and Howard Street (Belfast Lock-Up). Here is the list of DOJ-owned “interface structures”.
For images from Townsend St Prebyterian, see On The Other Side.
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Imagine There’s No Countries

No sooner had the pro-Trump message been blackened out (Your Wall, Your Border) than this graffiti appeared below the ‘Imagine’ mural in the neutral ground between the security gates on Northumberland Street: “Victory To Isreal [Israel]” with the Star of David.
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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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In The Defence Of The Citizens Of Belfast

The re-developed memorial to the 36th (Ulster) Division along the Shore Road (see previously) now includes the emblems of the 10th and 16th Divisions, as well as a large metal plate “in honour of the brave men and women who served on the Home Front 1939-1945: the Ulster Defence Volunteer Force, the Women’s Voluntary Services, the Auxiliary Fire Service, the Air Raid Precautions Wardens. This memorial is dedicated to the thousands of local people who volunteered during World War II and to the York Road Civil Defence Hall which played a vital role in the defence of the citizens of Belfast.”
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Ready For The Big Parade

Sandy Row gets ready for 11th Night and the Twelfth with flags and bunting and loyal Orangemen (from lodges 126 and 428) in the windows.
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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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