In September, 1914, six weeks after the Great War had begun, Edward Carson wrote to the Ulster Volunteers entreating “those who have not already responded” to “my call for Defenders of the Empire” to “enlist at once for the Ulster Division in Lord Kitchener’s Army”, fighting alongside “our fellow Britishers”: “Quit yourselves like men and comply with your country’s demand”. The impulse for the display of force shown here – two panels of hooded gunmen from the 1st East Antrim battalion of the UVF – is the other, original, motivation for the paramilitary force, which Carson describes as “to defend our citizenship in the United Kingdom” (Strachan & Nally).
For the RIR mural, see For Valour. The new panels shown here re-re-image the VC part of that previous mural.
Compared to the UVF, the UDA more strongly detect an existential threat to loyalism and evince a siege mentality that provokes the need for armed resistance. Hence the more frequent presence of armed gunmen in UDA murals (which is also due in part to the UVF being able to “re-image” around the Ulster Volunteers and the Somme). With Brexit and the Protocol, however, armed gunmen have recently been appearing more frequently in UVF murals – see, for example, If Our Shores Are Threatened | Bang Up To Date | Our British Identity.
“Springmartin–Highfield–Glencairn Ulster Defence Association est. 1971. Defending freedom from hate.” As the companion mural (We Will Take Nothing Less) makes clear, the hate is coming from a “fascist republican enemy” (“Sinn Féin/IRA”, presumably) and the government of Ireland. Graphically, this mural is the same as the previous one on this wall: Under The Protection Of The UDA.
The Castlereagh (4th battalion) UDA memorial garden behind the Bunch Of Grapes has changed over the years from painted murals (M | X) to spray-painted boards (We Forget Them Not) and now again to tarps within red frames. As far as content is concerned, the UFF, LPA (“We forget them not – past and present”) and UYM (“They shall not grow old etc”) remain but Tim Collins – a product of re-imaging – is out (see On That Journey) and Eddie The Trooper is in. The side wall of the pub has also been employed for the first time, with more hooded gunmen (see the third image, below). Two small plaques have been added to the outsides of the memorial wall.
“If our shores are threatened/We will take up arms/To defend our loyal cause/Our culture and our heritage/Our freedoms and our laws.” Moygashel’s own (William) Wesley Somerville, a member of both the UVF and UDR, was killed by a bomb prematurely exploding as he placed it on the minibus of the Miami Showband in July of 1975. Three members of the band died, one of them Protestant, along with volunteers Somerville and Harris Boyle from Portadown (WP). “He died for Ulster” (on the plaque).
More anti-Good Friday/Belfast Agreement sentiment, this time from Dungannon, and this time claiming not that support has been withdrawn from the Agreement but that it was not supported in the first place: “Loyalist Eastvale Avenue says ‘No’ to Irish Sea border – Anti-GF 1998, still anfi-GFA 2021”.
On Thursday of last week the Loyalist Communities Council, which represents the various loyalist paramilitary groups – all of which are proscribed organisations – in a letter sent to both Micheál Martin and Boris Johnson temporarily withdrew their support for the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement in protest over the NI Protocol that is part of Brexit (Guardian | BBC). These Moygashel UVF boards go further, threatening violence in response to a law seen as unjust.
From left to right: “Ulster 1912 2021 – Deserted, well I can stand alone [shows the date as 1914]. Time to decide!” “Our forefathers fought for our freedom and rights. No border in the sea or we continue the fight.” “Belfast Agreement null & void”, “UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade – when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
The “Ulster’s Finest” mural in Monkstown was remarkable for its depiction of two female volunteers, carrying Uzis, the only depiction of female loyalist volunteers (see Rolston ‘Women on the walls’ in Crime Media Culture 14.3, 2018, p. 373). It was plastered over in 1996 because the gable is next to Hollybank primary. Some of the pebbledash wore away in January/February to reveal the mural – still in good condition – beneath (Vintage_UVF).
The previous UVF mural in Carrington Street (Volunteering | On Your Side) was paint-bombed in October (Keep It Local) but has been quickly replaced by this computer-generated board showing the Harland & Wolff cranes, a Long Kesh watch-tower, and a hooded gunman from the UVF’s East Belfast Battalion.
The UVF mural in Carrington Street has been paint-bombed. Given the location and the extent of the paint, it’s likely that this was the result of some local (PUL) grievance. It will be interesting to see if it is restored, or replaced or painted out.
“The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality” – Che Guevara Lynch. The INLA’s Kevin Lynch died in the second hunger strike after 71 days. He is buried in Dungiven, where this memorial sits on the main road between Derry and Maghera.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Kevin Lynch a fuair bás ar stailc ocrais ar son saoirse, 1ú Lúnasa 1981 [who died on a hunger strike for freedom, 1st August 1981]. Erected by the Irish Republican Socialist Ex-Prisoners Memorial Committee.”