Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus

“Pro tanto quid retribuamus” [What shall we give in return for so much] is the motto of Belfast, included in the coat of arms shown above and newly appropriate in the coronavirus pandemic.  “Thank you to all our NHS staff and essential workers from the local Orange family. Together fighting Covid-19.” The banner is on the Clifton Street hall; King William III bestrides both horse and building.

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Justice For Ian Ogle

Ian Ogle (“Big O”) was standing at this spot (Cluan Place and Albertbridge Road) on the night of January 27th, 2019, when he was assaulted and stabbed by a gang of men. Three UVF members have been charged with his death though the UVF say the killing was not sanctioned (Sunday Life). The family continue to campaign for a safer east Belfast (BelTel).

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I ♥ NHS

“Republican Network For Unity thank all NHS frontline staff” – RNU banner on the play-pitch at the bottom of the NLR.

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Institutional Support

“Cumann na Méirleach Poblachtach Éireannach – The Felons Club support our NHS & all key workers.” This banner in support of the NHS is outside the club in Andersonstown.

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Our NHS

“No surrender to Covid-19”. Two banners from Donegall Road in support of “our brave NHS”: above, the 1st South Belfast Linfield Supporters Club (Fb)  and below, the Rangers Supporters Club in Barrington Gardens (Barrington Street).

For the Covenant and Somme boards, see Out Of The Rubble.

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Eddie Supports The Flag

“Happy Christmas, Belfast.” A time of mythical creatures and twelve days of gifts. On the seventh anniversary of the flag protests (in response to a vote by the Council to fly the Union Flag from city hall only 18 days a year as in the rest of the UK) my true love gave to me a dozen or so Union Flags (and a few Ulster Banners) attached to the railings. Santa was nowhere to be seen but, as is fitting for a zombie, Eddie The Trooper continued to stalk the land. For Eddie’s previous appearances, see his Visual History page.

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Our Soldiers Are Heroes

“Ballyclare supports Soldier ‘F’. Our soldiers are heroes, not criminals.” “Soldier F” is the pseudonym of a British Army paratrooper who faces charges of murdering two civilians, William McKinney and Jim Wray, in Derry on Bloody Sunday (January 30th, 1972), as well as five counts of attempted murder. Proceedings began in September (BelTel), a witness list was presented in December (BBC-NI), and the case will resume on January 17th.

Main Street, Ballyclare.

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Sinn Féin IRA’s Golden Boy

We are now a week away from Westminster elections (December 12th). John Finucane is standing for Sinn Féin in Belfast North but this banner is at the top of the Shankill, intended to stir up animosity towards Sinn Féin, and support for DUP candidates, in all constituencies.

The same banner was hung in Tigers’ Bay, York Street, Antrim, and Ballymena, though the Tigers’ Bay one was removed because it was on council property (News Letter).

The banner presents a gallery of Finucane’s relatives John Snr, Dermot, Seamus, and Pat: “The real Finucane family  – human rights abusers – steeped in the blood of our innocents.” The (former) IRA involvement of the three uncles is well documented. Controversially, Sean O’Callaghan (in the Daily Telegraph) alleged that father Pat Finucane was in the IRA, contrary to the findings of the de Silva report into collusion: “Pat Finucane was first and foremost an IRA volunteer, and he exploited his position [as a solicitor with access to prisoners] ruthlessly to wage his war on the state.” The source of the claim that Finucane is the chosen candidate of the PIRA Army Council is unknown. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called the banners “dangerous” (RN). The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Shankill banner was ordered by an alleged planner of Pat Finucane’s assassination, Jim Spence of the UDA (BelTel).

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No Fouling

Neither the Greens and Sinn Féin are contesting the Belfast South seat, leaving a clear path for the SDLP’s Claire Hanna to make up the 2,00o-vote margin of the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly, which she seems likely to do in a constituency that voted 68-32 for ‘remain’ (BBC). Unlike in Belfast North (see Steeped In Blood | The Anti-Brexit Candidate), the UUP is fielding a candidate (Michael Henderson) which, along with the Alliance party, provides an option for liberal unionists. Henderson is against the current proposal for an Irish Sea economic border. The banner shown above refers to campaigning in North Belfast by Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (WP).
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Steeped In Blood

The Westminster election called by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives for December 12th has become a referendum on Brexit, with a pro-Remain pact between the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Plaid Cymru in 60 British constituencies (BBC). In Northern Ireland, manoeuvring got under way with UDA threats against any UUP candidate who might stand in Belfast North (News Letter). The UUP, which had previously committed itself to stand in all 18 NI constituencies, withdrew (BBC), as did the SDLP (BelTel), leaving the contest essentially between the (pro-Brexit) DUP’s Nigel Dodds and (anti-Brexit) Sinn Féin’s John Finucane (shown second from left). Finucane is current Belfast Mayor but is presented here as part of a “republican family”: he is son of murdered lawyer Pat Finucane (fourth from left) and Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (WP) was seen canvassing for him. The vote in North Belfast is expected to be close. The current Brexit proposal involves customs checks in the Irish Sea (BBC), but the DUP will be hoping for No-Deal or the end to the NI backstop.

For analysis of North Belfast and all of the NI seats, see Bangor Dub.

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