We are now a week away from Westminster elections (December 12th). John Finucane is standing for Sinn Féin in Belfast North but this banner is at the top of the Shankill, intended to stir up animosity towards Sinn Féin, and support for DUP candidates, in all constituencies.
The banner presents a gallery of Finucane’s relatives John Snr, Dermot, Seamus, and Pat: “The real Finucane family – human rights abusers – steeped in the blood of our innocents.” The (former) IRA involvement of the three uncles is well documented. Controversially, Sean O’Callaghan (in the Daily Telegraph) alleged that father Pat Finucane was in the IRA, contrary to the findings of the de Silva report into collusion: “Pat Finucane was first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and he exploited his position [as a solicitor with access to prisoners] ruthlessly to wage his war on the state.” The source of the claim that Finucane is the chosen candidate of the PIRA Army Council is unknown. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called the banners “dangerous” (RN). The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Shankill banner was ordered by an alleged planner of Pat Finucane’s assassination, Jim Spence of the UDA (BelTel).
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IRA volunteer Mickey McVerry was killed by the British Army during a bomb attack on Keady RUC station in 1973. Peadar McElvanna was killed by the British Army on June 9, 1979, outside Keady, south Armagh. The 40th anniversary commemoration this year drew criticism from the DUP as it was on the same weekend as a ‘time for truth’ rally in Belfast (BelTel). The memorial shown here is in Victoria
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The D Company board that was placed over the Brendan Hughes painting earlier in the year (see: Nailed To The Mast) was prelude to this new mural. Brendan Hughes has been included since the 2008 version (compare 2005 with 2008) but Crumlin Road hungerstriker Billy McKee is included for the first time. McKee was the first OC of the PIRA’s Belfast Brigade and arrested for possession of a handgun. The hunger strike was to secure political status for prisoners who had been convicted of crimes (WP).
“This mural is dedicated to the lives of: Billy McKee, Hungerstriker, Crumlin Road Gaol, achieved political status, 1972; Kieran Nugent, Blanketman, H-Blocks Long Kesh, fought the loss of political status, 1976; Brendan Hughes, Blanketman, Hungerstriker, H-Blocks Long Kesh, 1980.”
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Click to enlarge (to full size)
Although originally from Clonard in west Belfast, at the time he was shot by the SAS in Gibraltar (along with Mairéad Farrell and Sean Savage) IRA volunteer Dan McCann was living in the New Lodge, site of this recently-added plaque in his memory. (He was previously included in a 3rd battalion Belfast Brigade mural on New Lodge Road.)
There are also new plaques to TC Campbell and Seamus McCusker.
“Óglach Dan McCann: On March 6th 1988 Dan was gunned down in Gibrlatar along with two IRA comrades Óglach Mairead Farrell and Óglach Sean Savage.”
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“Óglach Tony ‘TC’ Campbell was shot dead by the British Army as he walked along Edlingham Street on February 4th 1973 as he returned home from celebrating his 19th birthday. TC was one [of] six New Lodge residents murdered which was later referred to as the “New Lodge Six Massacre. … Tony lived in 13D Artillery House [now Teach Ghráinne].” Campbell was hit 17 times (BBC).
“Óglach Seamus McCusker was murdered by members of the Workers Party [as part of the PIRA-OIRA feud] on this spot [New Lodge Road outside Artillery House] on the 31st October . At the time of Seamus’s killing he was on his way to deal with a local resident’s complaint.” McCusker was killed two days after the PIRA shot Robert Elliman in the Markets; a few hours after McCusker’s death, Tom Berry of the OIRA was killed in Short Strand.
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