Kieran Abram

Here are two new boards in the fast-growing gallery on the Falls Road below the IRA memorial garden – with three more spots ‘reserved’ for Cogús and the IRSP.

The first is to Kieran Abram. In the early hours of July 5th, 1992, Kieran Abram was knocked to the ground and kicked to death by loyalists in running battles with nationalists on North Howard Street, near the old British Army sangar. Four people were convicted of manslaughter in the case (Judiciary NI).

The second is to PIRA volunteer Charlie Hughes, who was killed in 1971 in the feud with the OIRA. (For more, see The Struggle Continues.)

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Saoirse Go Deo

The 1918 ‘Representation Of The People’ act gave 8.4 million women in the United Kingdom the right to vote (WP). (For the two women on the left holding the ‘Votes For Women’ sign, see Women’s Hall And Cost-Price Restaurant.) In that same year, Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to Westminster and became Sinn Féin Minister For Labour in the first Dáil Éireann that was established as an alternative. Ten years earlier, she had co-founded Na Fianna Éireann with Bulmer Hobson. The names of Derry fianna are listed on the right. “Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.” (This board replaces the former Fianna mural that celebrated the centenary in 2009.)

To the left is a “Join RSYM” stencil with the names of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers; to the right is a picture of the memorial across the street to the dead of the 3rd battalion of the Doire Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann.

“But while Ireland is not free I remain a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible. There is no word strong enough for it. I am pledged as a rebel to the one thing – a free and independent republic.”

“Ach a fhad is nach bhfuil Éire saor, seasfaidh mé an fód mar cheannairceach, gan géilleadh, gan athrú. Níl focal dá bhfuil atá chumhachtach go leor. Tá gealltanas tugtha agam mar cheannairceach, cuspóir amháin a chur i gcrích – poblacht shaor agus neamhspleach.”

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Fellowship

“Fuck the IRA” on the wall of Mustardseed Christian Fellowship in Crimea Street, Belfast.

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On The Streets Of Derry

“This mural is dedicated to all those who tragically died on the streets of Derry during the hunger strike era. Suaimhneas Dé da nanamacha. 3rd October 2006.” The mural referred to is in fact the ‘crumbling cell’ mural (see M03350); the ‘Spirit Of Freedom’ mural was first painted in 2011 for the 30th anniversary (see X00999) – the 30th anniversary plaque remains, on the right of the mural. For the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike “40” has replaced the “30” in the bottom border – see the final image.

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X10899 X10902 X10903 X10901 X10900 our revenge will be the laughter of our children bainfear ár ndíoltas amach leis an ghaire dár bpáistí

Soldier Of Ireland

After serving in the IRA in the War Of Independence, Liam Mellows was elected to the First Dáil and as a member of the second Dáil voted against the Treaty in January 1922 (his speech is recorded in Oireachtas.ie under the name “Liam Mellowes”). In the Civil War that followed, he served as IRA quartermaster in the force in the Four Courts that surrendered to Free State forces on June 30th, 1922. He was imprisoned in Mountjoy and executed in December, in reprisal for the killing of Seán Hayes (see Executed). (WP | An Phoblacht) His proposals for government were published posthumously as ‘Mellows Testament’ (NLI) and include state ownership of heavy industry, large estates, the transport system, and the banks. The sticker below quotes from that document: “Ireland, if her industries and banks were controlled by foreign capital, would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface of the world’s money-markets.”

Stewart Street, Belfast

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Their Struggle Is A Workers’ One

“Murdered for their political beliefs: Tom Berry, Robert Elliman, Robert Millen, John Browne”. All four had a connection Markets or Ormeau area of south Belfast. Millen, from the Ormeau area, was shot in 1973 by the UVF; he played on the same soccer team (Bankmore Star) as Thomas Berry, who was shot in a Short Strand GAA club; Elliman was shot in a Markets pub; John Brown (without the “e”) was shot in his Cooke Street home in front of his family. The first three were all Protestants; the latter three were among 11 people who died in the 1975 feud between the Officials and the Provisionals. (Lost Lives)

“The war they wage is not a war of bigotry or greed, their struggle is a workers one, so everyone may lead a life with rights and liberty, in a land where they can say “Up the Army of the people, the Official IRA”.” “Erected by the Official Republican Movement.”

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Ballykinlar Internment Camp

Ballykinlar barracks in County Down was originally Abercorn barracks, used by the British to intern IRA prisoners during the War Of Independence, and the use continued under the new Northern Irish government (WP); the camp held about 2,000 prisoners (McGuffin, ch. 5). The prisoners attempted to maintain their military structure and perform drills; they created a currency using cardboard discs (images can be seen at Old Currency Exchange) – and, as a way to keep up morale, worked on “autograph books” in which prisoners would write dedications and verses for one another and occasionally draw pictures. The pages shown here are from books currently exhibited in Monaghan County Museum; Offaly Archives has digitised an autograph book; a few more images from a book in the Kilmainham collection can be seen at the BBC.

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The Liverpool Bar

“IRA 2, Liverpool 0, and one hit the bar.” This is 35 year-old graffiti that seems to be more durable than the paint that was used to white it out. In 1987 IRA gunmen burst into the Liverpool Bar & Lounge on Donegall Quay – named for the nearby ferry terminal to Liverpool (Belfast Forum) – and killed two off-duty RUC detectives – Michael Malone and Ernest (Stanley) Carson – and injured two others (AP). The case came back into the public eye In 2016 when a man was arrested in connection with the shooting (RTÉ | News Letter); he was later released (BBC).

Islandbawn Dr, Belfast

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An Attitude Of Revolt

The Tommy Roberts mural at the top of Westland Street, Derry, has been expanded, with a new central image – which now includes a portrait of Stevie Mallon alongside Roberts, against a background of Free Derry Corner – and three additional plaques.

Both quotes (“Life springs from death, and from the graves of dead patriot men and women spring living nations.” and “As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.” are from Patrick Pearse. The first quote was also used on a Gibraltar 3 mural in Belfast and an INLA mural in Strabane in 1990; the latter was used in a Belfast in the 1980s.

“In proud and loving memory of Tommy Roberts, former IRA volunteer, former POW blanketman, died 8th June 2017 aged 78. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.”

“In proud and loving memory of Stevie Mellon, former IRA volunteer, former internee, former GAA referee, died 1st August 2018, aged 65 years. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. Lay him away on the hillside with the brave and the bold.”

“In proud and loving memory of Veronica Taylor, a proud socialist republican. Born11th June 1943, died 16th December 2019, aged 76 years. Her tireless dedication to the republican struggle will never be forgotten. “The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day and die if necessary.””

“In proud and loving memory of Ruairí (Roddy) Carlin, former IRA volunteer, former POW, died 23rd March 2021. A brave son of Ireland who fought for his country against continued British oppression and injustice, an uncompromised republican committed to the reunification of Ireland.”

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Executed

On October 18th, 1922, the third Dáil/second Provisional Government Of Southern Ireland approved – in the absence of anti-Treaty members – a bill entitled the “Army Emergency Powers Resolution” which introduced martial law, including martial courts with the death penalty for anyone found in possession of an illegal firearm – “illegal” meaning not sanctioned by the nascent pro-Treaty Free State. Under these powers, seven IRA volunteers were executed on November 17th and 19th, followed on the 24th by Erskine Childers (a member of the team that negotiated the Treaty but subsequently against it). In response, the IRA declared that TDs who had voted for the bill were fair game, and on December 7th Seán Hales of Cork was shot and killed. In reprisal, the government ordered the execution of four more volunteers, one from each province: Liam Mellows, Joe McKelvey, Dick Barnett, Rory O’Connor. The four had been arrested five months earlier, on June 30th, 1922 at the start of the Civil War, after surrendering the Four Courts. By the end of the war, 81 executions had taken place. (An Phoblacht | Irish Times | The Irish Story | WP | WP)

For the left-hand side of the wall, on the shipyard clearings and the McMahon murders, see Belfast Butchery.

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