Brexit OK

The UK –including Northern Ireland – will leave the European Union on October 31st of this year (2019), perhaps resulting  in the return of a border between Northern Ireland and Éire. The departure has support from Unionists, including this graffitist in Oakdale Street, east Belfast.

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Michael McCartan

“Michael was born 4th March 1964 to parents Charlie and Molly. Charlie was originally from Raglan Street and Molly was from Stanfield Street and they move to 13 Artana Street in February 1963. They had seven children: Michael, Sean, Dermot, Martin, Conor, Marie and Roisin. Michael was educated at Holy Rosary PS and St Augustine’s Secondary School and was due to start an apprenticeship in joinery and plastering. Michael was a typical teenager. He loved spending time with his mates but as the eldest child he was very helpful to his parents. On the day of his murder he had been helping his father paint the house. On 23rd July 1980 Michael, aged 16, was playing cards with his mates in the ‘nook’ at Ormeau Bridge. Getting bored, Michael got some paint and painted a slogan on the adjacent wall. He was seen by two plainclothes RUC men in an unmarked van. Without warning, Michael was shot by one of the RUC men and died shortly after. Nobody was ever convicted of Michael’s murder. Unveiled by his mother Molly 4th March 2019.” Father Raymond Murray, who with Fr Dennis Faul wrote a report on McCartan’s death, was also at the launch.

The killing of Michael McCartan by an RUC officer named McKeown was long ago (in the 1980s) depicted in a mural in Oakman Street: They Murder The People And Have No Shame.

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Can The Centre Hold?

In 2017 the New Lodge anti-internment bonfire was removed by the Housing Executive based on concerns that it was too close to buildings (BBC-NI) and in 2018 community negotiations arranged for it not to be built at all, in exchange for tickets to a Féile concert (Republican News | IRSP). But the bonfire is back this year, built directly on Queens Parade, and with it the anti-social behaviour that is thought by some (e.g. Alex Maskey) to be the real reason for the bonfire. “Such is the lawlessness,” reports the Irish News (one | two), that youths minding the fire have been seen powering an Xbox from a lamppost. Also, four nights of rioting (NewsLetter | iTV). In response to the growing attention, the graffiti above (“Our wood goes, this centre goes”) has appeared on a wall of the North Belfast Family Centre, along with graffiti threatening Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee (see image below; Magee commented on the 2016 bonfire dispute in this Slugger article) and against any contractors who might be hired to remove the materials. As of 7 p.m. last night, the bonfire was still in place. If it has not been removed (by the Department Of Infrastructure) it will be lit tonight.

For the phrasing, see previously: Our Wood Goes Your Windows Go in Longlands.
For threats against contractors, see previously: Masked Republican Mercenaries.

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Groves Reilly Corner

Throughout the Troubles the junction of the Glen and Falls Road was home to an intensely fortified RUC barracks. The barracks was demolished in 2005 and gradually redeveloped over the years. In January (2019) it was renamed in honour of activists Emma Groves and Clara Reilly who campaigned for decades against plastic bullets (Groves was blinded in 1972 by a plastic bullet fire by a Paratrooper) and founder members of Relatives For Justice (web). For images from the launch, see Irish Examiner.

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Time For Irish Unity

Sinn Féin joined the IRSP ‘Yes For Unity’ campaign (Fb | tw) for a vote on Irish reunification with a shared meeting in late 2018 (Irish News). The two campaign boards shown here (at the Glen Road-Falls Road junction and at the top of the New Lodge) are in the same style of these two IRSP ‘Yes For Unity’ boards from 2018.

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Make Your Mama Cry

“It’s no lie – drugs will make your mama cry!”Sisters Bridget and Geraldine McKay died within three weeks of each other, one from heroin and the other from prescription dugs (iTV | BelfastLiveBelTel). Between them, they leave nine children behind. The graffiti above is at the Colin transport hub, not far from Geraldine’s Suffolk Road home; Bridget lived in the New Lodge flats.

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Light Of The World

Disney character Lumière (from Beauty And The Beast) is joined by bobble-head Pope Francis and bobble-head Jesus on the dashboard of a van parked on the (Protestant) Shankill Road.

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None Of The Above

Writing by NOTA (None Of The Above) of TMN (The Most Nasty crew) for HTN19 in Kent Street, Belfast.
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Weapons Of The UVF

The YCV WWI mural in Kitchener Drive has been removed and replaced with the modern weaponry above (with two small WWI boards on adjacent walls). For more on the UVF reasserting itself in the Village as it is redeveloped, see one | twothreefour | five | six.

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British And Proud

The UDA roll of honour mural (led by John McMichael) in Rowland Way was blacked out in the mid-2000s but has been gradually reappearing since then. (The steps painted on the wall in front read “In proud memory of our fallen comrades who lost their lives in the conflict – we forget them not.”) The banner was used for the “flag protests” surrounding the flying of the Union Flag on Belfast City Hall (in 2012-2013) and then was first hung next to the King Billy mural at the bottom of the Row.
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