Here is a selection of anti-Protocol placards from the Caw, Londonderry and Newbuildings. Above: a PSNI officer with a Sinn Féin badge – “PSNI – destroying the loyalist community since 4th Nov. 2001. In the pocket of Sinn Féin.” (November 4th, 2001 is the date the PSNI was created.) For the farmer’s wife protecting the farm, see Deserted, well I can stand alone. Below: “Newbuildings says No to Irish Sea border”, “Loyalist Newbuildings will never accept a border in the Irish Sea”, “The Belfast Agreement has been broken – the deal’s off”, and “Our forefathers fought for our freedom and rights/No border in the sea or we continue the fight”.
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.
“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.”
RUC Constable Norman Anderson was set upon and executed in 1961 by the IRA on the Fermanagh border as he returned from visiting his Co Monaghan girlfriend (SEFF) but he and his family hailed from Larne and he is remembered by the Constable Anderson Memorial flute band (emblem below), which was formed in the same year (Fb), and the Auld Boys (emblem above). These are two of three flute bands in the Factory area of Larne, along with the Clyde Valley flute band – see The Gunrunners.
Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor (near Honolulu, Hawaii) on December 7th, 1941. Even before the USA announced its consequent entry into WWII, Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto wondered if the effect of the attack would be “to awaken the sleeping giant and to fill him with terrible resolve”. In the case of today’s images, the sleeping giant is a lion, and the lion is the UVF 1st East Antrim, with units not just in Larne, Ballyduff, Ballyclare, Greenisland, Glengormley, Monkstown, Rathcoole, Carrickfergus, and Whitehead, but in Drumchapel (Glasgow, Scotland), Springburn (Glasgow, Scotland), Possilpark (Glasgow, Scotland), Paisley (Scotland), Falkirk (Scotland), Liverpool (England), Blackpool (England), Corby (England), and Blairgowrie (Scotland). Balaclava’d men with ArmaLites stand ready: “Our forefathers fought for our freedom & rights/No border in the sea or we continue the fight.”
The combination of a free-floating Northern Ireland with Britain (in the first image, above) is rare in muraling, but necessitated by Brexit and the Protocol.
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 in the Larches, Carrickfergus.
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.”