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.
“‘They won’t break me because the desire for [freedom and the] freedom of the Irish people is in my heart. The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. It is then that we will see the rising of the moon’ – Bobby Sands [March 17th, 1981]” Originally in Irish: “Ní bhrisfidh siad mé mar tá an fonn saoirse, agus saoirse mhuintir na hEireann, i mo chroí. Tiocfaidh lá éigin nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hEireann. Ansin tchífidh muid éirí na gealaí.”
Six weeks after the first four deaths, the 1981 hunger strike’s long summer of mourning resumed with the death of Joe McDonnell, who died on July 8th, 1981. The “H” (for “H Blocks”) is on the Falls Road, next to the D company IRA memorial garden.
In April, the Workers’ Party (web | web | tw | Fb | Fb) suffered a leadership challenge and a split in which its sole elected representative – Ted Tynan on Cork county council – left the party (statement). This is only the latest in a long line of splits, going back to the formation of the modern Workers’ Party, from a split in Sinn Féin in 1970 (WP).
“National Commemoration Committee – erected in memory of all those comrades who dedicated their lives for the establishment of a democratic, secular, socialist republic. ‘I have given whatever I had to give for the party, the people of Ireland, and for a better world, but others have given more, much more. Comrades have given their lives’ – Tomás Mac Giolla TD. ‘For the unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.'”
Joe McCann was IRA/OIRA OC in the Markets area of Belfast. He was famously photographed among burning buildings in Inglis’s bakery, during protests against the introduction on internment, crouched beneath a Starry Plough and holding an M1. (For more, see Battle Of The Markets, which features the same photograph.) For McCann’s death the following year (on April 15th, 1972) see Joe McCann. This new board replaces a tarp in the same location: see On The Brink Of Sectarian Disaster.
“History of the death of Sean McCartney. This memorial was placed here on Saturday 8th May 2021 to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Vol Sean “Johnny” McCartney of no. 55 Norfolk Street, Falls Road, Belfast. Sean was a volunteer of “D” Company 1st battalion Belfast Brigade Oglaigh na hEireann, when he was killed in action, aged 23 years old. He died while on active service with the 3rd Northern Division, 3rd County Cavan Brigade flying column during the Irish Republican War of Independence. He was shot twice during an ambush and gun battle with the British Army RIC and Black and Tans on Sunday 8th May 1921 on Croghan Mountain at the Lappanbane stretch of the Lappanduff Mountain, Co. Cavan. His body was then mutilated by the Black and Tans. Sean’s body was kicked, stamped on, danced on and tied by the ankles and feet to a Crossley Tender military vehicle and dragged along mountain lanes in an attempt to instill fear in the local Co. Cavan community. The 32 county Irish republic based on the self determination of the Irish people which Sean and many others fought and died for has yet to be achieved. Sean will always be proudly remembered by his extended family circle in Ireland and Canada.” McCartney is buried in Milltown cemetery.
In 2019, images of Bobby Sands before his (second and final) arrest and imprisonment were rediscovered in the collection of French photographer Gérard Harlay. Sands was serving as a flag-bearer in an August 1976 march from the Busy Bee to Dunville Park to protest the withdrawal of political status. (For some of Harlay’s images, see Bobby Sands Trust.) This new mural in his home area of Twinbrook copies one of the images (though presents him as carrying a Tricolour rather than a harp) along with protesters protesting for “Public transport for Twinbrook now” and “Social housing for Twinbrook now”.
Mairéad Farrell (on the right of the image above) was arrested for planting a bomb at a hotel in Dunmurry in April 1976, one month after Special Category Status for republican prisoners had been revoked. Kieran Nugent (on the left) began the “blanket” protest in September that year and Farrell was the first person to join the protest, when she arrived in Armagh women’s prison to begin her fourteen year sentence. She later took up a dirty protest and joined the 1980 hunger strike. She stood for election in 1981 (in Cork), but, unlike “Óglach Bobby Sands, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone”, was not successful. (WP)
“I am oppressed as a woman and I am oppressed as an Irish person. Everyone in this country is oppressed and yet we can only end our oppression as women if we end the oppression of our nation as a whole.” Máiread [sic] Farrell
Cúchulainn stands dying; the raven on his shoulder will signal his death. “This memorial is dedicated to all the brave and gallant men and women of the Old IRA (Óglaigh na hÉireann) and Cumann na mBán who fought in all of the campaigns from the 1920s War of Independence onwards.”
The Irish tricolour with crossed rifles was the flag of the Irish Volunteers (Óglaigh na hÉireann), the splits in which gave rise all the subsequent IRAs.
For a roll of honour 1916-1966, including some profiles, see Treason Felony.
The fact that there are three memorials to the Balmoral Furniture bombing speaks to the shock felt at devastating bomb on a busy Shankill Road. The oldest is the small circular plaque: “Balmoral Furniture Showrooms bombed 12.25pm Saturday 11th December 1971. 2 adults & 2 babies killed”; then the Poppy Cross “in memory of the two men and two babies murdered at this spot by a no warning sectarian IRA bomb attack on the Balmoral Furniture shop on 11th December 1971.” and finally the traditional plaque, which names the victims: Colin Nicholl, Tracey Jane Munn, Harold King, Hugh Bruce.