It is now more than a year since teenager Noah Donohoe was found dead in a north Belfast storm drain and the controversy and mystery over his death continues. Police were recently investigating an alleged confession by a prisoner and Noah’s mother Fiona has said that she was told by police of a witness statement that the UDA were called in to dispose of the body (Irish News). She has started a petition calling for Chief Constable Simon Byrne’s resignation. The walls of Belfast have been painted to reflect the persistent dissatisfaction with the investigation. The three shown here are on the Whiterock, Lake Glen, and Springfield roads. For some more examples, see sbear101 on Twitter.
Norah McCabe was shot in the back of the head by a plastic bullet fired from an RUC land rover at around 7:45 a.m. on July 9th, 1981, the day after hunger striker Joe McDonnell died. (Danny Barrett would be killed by a British Army sniper in the evening.) The new boards were mounted to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of McCabe’s death. In 1981, a mural was painted at the same spot (in the old Linden Street) to protest the use of plastic bullets: see Plastic Death.
“Norah McCabe, 1947-1981, murdered by an RUC plastic bullet on 9th July 1981, aged 33 years.” With a poem “Peace” by daughter Áine McCabe, who was three months old when her mother was killed (Irish News).
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.
“Loyalist Woodburn celebrates 100th anniversary Northern Ireland”. Maintain the union of (left to right) England (St George’s Cross), Wales (The Red Dragon), Northern Ireland (Ulster Banner), Scotland (St Andrew’s Saltire). Along the fence we have the NI coat of arms, Ulster Grenadiers flute band (Fb) celebrating its 25th anniversary, King Billy at the Boyne, “Ulster Scots” (on an Independent Ulster flag?), Captain Sir Tom Moore, a Union Flag, Rangers 55, an Ulster Banner. The crown sits atop all.
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.
Eimear’s Wish (web | tw) last night launched a fundraising and blood cancer awareness campaign selling gin with a bottle raffled to supporters attending the first Irish League match of the new seasons between Glenavon and Portadown; it has the support of many soccer, rugby, GAA, and bowling clubs – this is the tarp outside Seaview on the Shore Road, Belfast. “Crusaders FC & Eimear’s Wish working together to raise stem cell donor awareness in Northern Ireland and create hope for people with life threatening illness.”
An estimated 100,000 people congregated at Craigavon House on the 23rd of September, 1911, to hear Edward Carson’s inaugural speech as Unionist leader (McNeill Ch. 4). In his speech he said “Our demand is a simple one. We ask for no privileges, but we are determined that no one shall have privileges over us. We ask for no special rights, but we claim the same rights from the same government as every other part of the United Kingdom. We ask for nothing more; we will take nothing less”. Ten years later, in 1921, Northern Ireland was created and it has survived to reach its centenary, despite (according to this mural) “100 years of fighting a fascist republican enemy sponsored by the Irish state.”
The white dove (an albino rock dove/pigeon) is a domesticated bird and so not commonly seen in wilds of Belfast’s gardens and hills. It is probably more commonly seen in murals, serving as a symbol for the peace process (see “Hawks” & Doves). This one, by emic (web | tw | ig), can be seen at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill.
Plans to redevelop Castle Arcade were published in July (NewsLetter). The arcade runs between Castle Lane and Castle Place. The castle of Belfast originally stood at the top of High Street, built by the Normans in the late 12th century and then rebuilt by Arthur Chichester in 1611 but destroyed by fire in 1708 after which the area became commercialised (Belfast Entries | Belfast Castle). If you know the art’s creator, please comment or get in touch.