Here is a second set of images showing the “peace or protocol” poster that has appeared in PUL areas in the city, three in east Belfast – along the Newtownards Road – and two from north Belfast – Oakmount Drive and Ballysillan Road. Two others in norther Belfast were seen previously in A Return To Violence, which also explains the poster.
Gertrude Street no longer exists – it was just east of where Wolff Close now is. But the Gertrude Street Defenders LOL 525 (Fb) brought back a former lodge (Lees Temperance/East Belfast Orange) March 2017, with former members of the Gertrude Star flute band (News Letter). For the five-flowered board on the right, see The Flax And The Lily. This pair of boards is on the courtyard fencing around the Westbourne Glentoran Supporters Club, off the Newtownards Road in the old Solway Street.
“Think before you drink” – broken bottles, broken loves, and broken lives in Seymour Hill. Help can be sought from the organisations on the adjacent board: FRANK, ASCERT, Community Addiction Team, FASA, and Daisy.
Following yesterday’s east Belfast “Peace or proticol” graffiti, today we have “Peace or protocol – it’s your decision”, aimed at Leo Varadkar on the day that he again became Taoiseach (Irish Times) and repeating his words back to him from a speech in 2018: “The possibility of a return to violence is very real”. At that meeting, Varadkar was anticipating violence by anti-Agreement republicans in response to customs posts on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border, and brought a newspaper describing the death of four customs officials, two lorry drivers, and three IRA volunteers at a Monaghan post in 1972 (BelTel).
The authors of this poster are not known, but the parallel statement (mutatis mutandis) would be that anti-Protocol agents – perhaps the “young loyalists” that the UVF “can no longer contain” (UK Daily; see also RTÉ from November) – might return to acts of violence such as the 1974 “Dublin & Monaghan Bombings” that killed 33 people – in the background of the poster is part of a photograph (included below) of bomb damage in Talbot Street – if the Protocol’s “Irish Sea border” is not removed.
The instance of the poster shown in today’s post is on the edge of Tigers Bay, on North Queen Street; the posters have also been appearing in east Belfast: Newtownards Rd (at Templemore Ave tw; at Dee St tw) | Beersbridge Rd (reddit).
A group called Let’s Talk Loyalism greeted the new premier with a mock funeral in Dublin for the Good Friday Agreement; the flowers behind the coffin read “GFA is dead” (tw).
According to a history of Brown’s Square, the area was known as “the oasis” during WWII on account of its 3 dance-halls and 22 pubs (Religion, Riots And Rebels). As with so much publicly-funded art (though we cannot find any provenance for this art) it depicts Belfast in the “good old days” – that is, before the Troubles, which produced the so-called “peace line” dividing west Belfast.
In this case of Brown’s Square, the area was further desolated in anticipation of a planned ring road (formally to be known as the Belfast Urban Motorway). the plan produced only the subterranean “Westlink” that cut Brown’s Square in half. The images in today’s post are in Townsend Street, (these are from below the security gates; there are others above it). Before the construction of the Westlink, which opened in 1981, Townsend Street was considered the western border, and part of Brown’s Square. John Gilbert’s photographs at the Belfast Archive Project show the area in the mid-seventies, when much of it had been abandoned but prior to construction.
The Boys Brigade are shown parading in front of Townsend Presbyterian which held its last service in September and is being handed over to the Ulster Orchestra (Belfast Media) (see previously On The Other Side for stained glass windows inside the church). The Brown’s Square school was at the junction of Brown’s Square (the street) and Melbourne Street.
The buildings on North Street above the art deco Bank Of Ireland building – including a former home (called The Loft) of the artists’ collective now known as The Vault– were razed in 2017. Since then, the hoarding around the site has been a site for street art and graffiti art, most recently a series of Clash Street Kids pieces (inspired by the ‘Bash Street Kids’) by the TMN krew. The plan for the location is now to produce (for 100 million pounds) a building housing a multi-media presentation of the results of an “unparalleled programme of story collection” (Belfast City Council) that will be attractive to an anticipated 1.8 million annual visitors (Architects’ Journal).
“The dead we honour here made the noble sacrifice for a cause that should never be forgotten.” A new board has been added to the memorial to the Ulster Volunteers on the Newtownards Road at St Leonard’s Crescent (the old Newcastle Street) over the bricked-up windows of the Belvoir Bar (see previously Not For Sale). The annual parade of the Belvoir Somme Association took place at the end of September (youtube)