Kieran Abram

Here are two new boards in the fast-growing gallery on the Falls Road below the IRA memorial garden – with three more spots ‘reserved’ for Cogús and the IRSP.

The first is to Kieran Abram. In the early hours of July 5th, 1992, Kieran Abram was knocked to the ground and kicked to death by loyalists in running battles with nationalists on North Howard Street, near the old British Army sangar. Four people were convicted of manslaughter in the case (Judiciary NI).

The second is to PIRA volunteer Charlie Hughes, who was killed in 1971 in the feud with the OIRA. (For more, see The Struggle Continues.)

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Saoirse Go Deo

The 1918 ‘Representation Of The People’ act gave 8.4 million women in the United Kingdom the right to vote (WP). (For the two women on the left holding the ‘Votes For Women’ sign, see Women’s Hall And Cost-Price Restaurant.) In that same year, Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to Westminster and became Sinn Féin Minister For Labour in the first Dáil Éireann that was established as an alternative. Ten years earlier, she had co-founded Na Fianna Éireann with Bulmer Hobson. The names of Derry fianna are listed on the right. “Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.” (This board replaces the former Fianna mural that celebrated the centenary in 2009.)

To the left is a “Join RSYM” stencil with the names of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers; to the right is a picture of the memorial across the street to the dead of the 3rd battalion of the Doire Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann.

“But while Ireland is not free I remain a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible. There is no word strong enough for it. I am pledged as a rebel to the one thing – a free and independent republic.”

“Ach a fhad is nach bhfuil Éire saor, seasfaidh mé an fód mar cheannairceach, gan géilleadh, gan athrú. Níl focal dá bhfuil atá chumhachtach go leor. Tá gealltanas tugtha agam mar cheannairceach, cuspóir amháin a chur i gcrích – poblacht shaor agus neamhspleach.”

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It’s A Knockout!

It’s A Knockout ran from 1966 to 1982 and entertained millions both live and on television, with teams from neighbouring towns playing ridiculous games in over-sized foam-rubber suits (plus jaunty theme music by Herb Alpert). It was based on a French show that was based on an Italian show, and so broad was its appeal that Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Great Britain (and, once, a team from “Northern Ireland”) – took part in an international version, called Jeux Sans Frontières. (Here’s a ‘best of’ compilation.)

The Conservative party leadership election ran for 54 days, with a series of debates and twelve hustings involving candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (here are summaries of all twelve hustings, including the one in Belfast), ending mercifully on September 5th with party members electing Truss. In Ciaran Gallagher’s (web) repainted mural (see previously, And In The Blue Corner …) Jacob Rees-Mogg declares Truss – in the Union Flag top and England shorts – the winner while Boris Johnson (still nominally the Prime Minister but who took two holidays, to Slovenia and Greece (HuffPo)) counts out the bloody-nosed Sunak, skipping over the No 10.

In the middle of the mural, Larry (the cat) wants to “Bring back Julian Smith!” Smith was NI Secretary 2019-2020. The task has (eventually) fallen to Euro-skeptic Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry (web). He replaces Shailesh Vara, who lasted 62 days, the shortest-lasting NI Secretary ever (BBC).

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Galliagh Remembers

This installation in Galliagh, Derry, has a portrait of each of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers on a large “H” as well as the central board shown above – the coffin being carried is that of Kevin Lynch – see For A Socialist Republic.

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A Journey Through Space And Time

The title says “Bloomfield [Bangor] 1973-2018” but the images are all of the Shankill in Belfast: (top, from left) the Changing Faces installation on the Cupar Way “peace” line, coal being delivered by horse and cart, the Original Belfast mural, (bottom, from left) the Shankill Graveyard, the Shankill Road Mission, Beatties fish and chip shop, and the Shankill Graveyard mosaic. 1973 is presumably the year of the construction of the contemporary houses in Bloomfield; there were aluminium bungalows in Bloomfield Road in 1951 (Lennon Wylie | flickr).

Replaces the damaged UVF eagle mural.

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Death Behind The Mask

In Eddie The Trooper murals, the reaper typically follows behind to collect the bodies. But lately he has been stepping into the limelight by himself, accompanied by a poem of terror (similar to the poem in The Reaper Come To Call): “The Provo’s fear the reaper/From the UFF he comes/The loyalist executioner/He brings death with his gun/He strikes when no one expects him to/From behind his hood cold eyes/The reaper brings stiff justice/As another Provo dies/He brought revenge for Teebane/In the Ormeau bookies five/And for the Shankill bombing/Greysteel was his reply/Sometimes his lust is chilling/As he goes about his task/The Provo’s fear the reaper/There’s death behind the mask”

The same poem appears on a fence board in Craigyhill, Larne.

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Ballyree Dr Bangor

Ulster Democratic Party

The mural above commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of Gary ‘Lofty’ Lynch on August 9th, 1991. Lynch was an election worker for the Ulster Democratic Party, whose Ken Kerr held a seat on Derry City Council from 1989 to 1993, representing the Waterside (WP). Lynch was shot and killed by the IRA outside Foyle Meats where he worked, only a few months after UDA commander and UDP party leader Cecil McKnight was killed (UPI).

The UDP was founded as the UDLP (“L” for “loyalist’) in 1981 and was dissolved in 2001 when the UDA rejected the Belfast Agreement (Guardian | Irish Times). It proposed an independent Northern Ireland within the Commonwealth and Europe.

McKnight is shown in front of an old Londonderry coat-of-arms mural in Bond’s Place. See also: the UDA memorial mural in Lincoln Court.

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IRA Army Council Demands

“The Parachute Regiment betrayed by the government to satisfy IRA Army Council demands.” The charges of murder and attempted murder against Soldier F were originally lodged (CNN) and pursued in 2019 (Guardian) but in 2021 the PPS decided to drop the charges . Five months ago that decision was quashed (BelTel | Guardian). The charges against Soldier F concerned two specific victims, William McKinney and James Wray, though witness testimony involves F in at least four of the deaths (Irish Central | Village). In response to the original charges, the Movilla UDA added the framed tarp shown here to their ‘hooded gunmen’ board in Georges Street, Newtownards.

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Hello Future

Pat Sheehan had been on hunger strike for 55 days when the strike was ended on October 3rd, 1981. He became MLA for Belfast West in 2010. He was the main speaker at the 41st anniversary commemoration in Belfast this past Sunday (video). The boards shown here are in Pim Street, north Belfast, the former Andersonstown RUC station in west Belfast, lower Falls Road, west Belfast.

“Comóradh Náisiúnta in ómós na stailceoirí ocrais. Béal Feirste 21 Lúnasa, 2:00 i.n. Aoichainteoir: Pat Sheehan. Páirc Dunville a fhad le hUaigheannaí na Poblachta, Reilig Bhaile an Mhuileann. (Ag cruinniú ag 1:30 i.n., ag fágáil ar bhuile 2:00 i.n.”

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Is Ceist Deacair É Sin

Edward Daly is most famous for waving a white handkerchief on Bloody Sunday, as a dying Jackie Duddy was carried away, but his devotion to the city of Derry spans decades: was a curate and then bishop in Derry from 1962 until 1993 (WP). ‘That’s a difficult question’ was his favourite saying (Derry Journal). The stone was erected after his death in 2016 (see The People’s Priest) and has now been incorporated into a garden of reflection.

“This garden of reflection has been dedicated in honour of the late Bishop of Derry (Emeritus) Dr Edward Daly in heartfelt gratitude and thanksgiving for the wonderful work for the people of Derry and beyond. Rest in peace. ‘To love means loving the unlovable; to forgive means forgiving the unforgivable; faith means believing the unbelievable; hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.’ Is ceist deacair é sin [that is a difficult question]” “Opened by the Most Reverend Jude Thaddeus Okolo, papal nuncio to Ireland, on 5th February 2018. Also John Hume, Ivan Cooper, Vinny Coyle, Chief Stewart [sic] of Civil Rights march and all those who campaigned for Civil Rights.”

For the mural, see Civil Rights.

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