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.
Republican Sinn Féin and Provisional Sinn Féin were formed in 1986, when Sinn Féin split over the issue of taking Dáil seats. They reject the Belfast Agreement and support the use of force; the poster above calls for political status for prisoners, the same issue that led to the blanket protest and hunger strikes. (Their web site is in fact republicansinnfein.org; they are also on Twitter.)
Inspirational female figures inside Coláiste Feirste: Marie Curie – Duais Nobel, Emmeline Pankhurst – “Vótaí do mhnaí” [votes for women], Alice Ní Mhaolagáin [Milligan], Mary Anne Nic Reachtain [McCracken], Mairéad Ní Fhearail [Farrell], Bernadette Ní Dhoibhilin [Devlin], Angela Davis, Rosa Parks – “Shuigh sí le go dtiocfadh linn seasamh” [She sat so that we would stand], Méabh – Banríon Chonnacht [queen of Connacht], Gráinne Mhaol [Grace O’Malley], Marina Ginestà, Winifred Ní Chearnaigh [Carney], Mary Mhic Giolla Íosa [McAleese] – Uachtarán na hÉireann [President of Ireland], mná Bhóthar Seoighe [women of Shaw’s Road] – scoil Ghaeilge Bhéal Feirste. Dalta Choláiste Feirste – An tusa an chéad laoch eile? [Pupil of Coláiste Feirste, are you the next hero?]
RHC volunteer Stevie McCrea (born 31.5.52, killed 18.2.89) was imprisoned for his role in the killing of 17 year-old Catholic James Kerr in a Lisburn Road garage, on the same day as the RHC bombed Benny’s Bar in Sailortown. He was killed in an IPLO attack on the Orange Cross (the Shankill Social Club). This Village mural is the second tribute to McCrea this year – see also A True Soldier Of Ulster in the lower Shankill, near the former location of the Orange Cross in Craven Street.
“Stevie was raised in The Village Area of South Belfast. He was just a young man when The Troubles started but without hesitation answered the call by joi[ni]ng the Village RHC. He soon started making a name for himself by putting himself on the front line with his brothers in arms in the RHC. These men where [sic] one of the most active units in Ulster by taking the fight the republicans. In 1972 at the height of The Troubles Stevie was sentenced to life for his part in a retaliation shooting and was imprisoned in Long Kesh. After serving 15 years with dignity and courage he was released. On the 16th February 1989 just after receiving his last pay cheque [from a transitional work scheme] he decided to join a few friends in The Orange Cross Club in the Shankill area. This would be his last drink as republican scum decided to target the Loyalist club. Stevie sacrificed himself to protect his friend by throwing himself in front of a hail of bullets. Stevie died 2 days later from his injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital.”
This UVF LPOW mural in Inverary Drive, east Belfast, probably dates back to the years after the Agreement, when the release of prisoners from both sides was being implemented between 1998 and 2000. That would make the mural about 20 years old.
James Connolly was executed on May 12th, 1916. Both the (freshly painted) Connolly plaque shown above and the Martin Meehan mural on the adjacent wall paint the struggle of the republican prisoners and the Provisionals of the ‘Troubles’ as descendants of 1916’s Easter Rising. Several name-plaques have been added to (what is now officially titled) the ‘Republican Prisoners Memorial Wall’ compared to the number seen in September.
For close-ups of the door and sculptured rocks, see Father Time.
“This wall is dedicated to all those ex prisoners that found themselves imprisoned as a result of British occupation of our country. The plaques on the wall are in memory of those former POW’s who have since passed away.” There are five plaques already on the wall, to Patrick Quinn 2017, Buller Holland 2007, Henry McErlean 2015, Martin Meehan 2007, Seán McCaughey 1946. For the large stones, see yesterday’s Father Time. Replaces Rhythm Of Time.
The Irish Republican Prisoners Committee (IRPC) is currently without any web or social-media presence, but it recently mounted this board in Northumberland Street, Belfast. As with all post-Agreement murals for republican prisoners, it uses only barbed wire and not the lark.