SOMETIMES WE FORGET HOW LUCKY WE ARE

Having watched media reports about the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland since the late 60’s I had formed the view the most of the tension was now over.

The issue is of particular interest to me as Izzy was the victim of an IRA bombing in the early 70’s when a guy entered the shop that she was working at, pointed a gun at her and placed a bomb  on the floor telling her that she had five minutes before it went off. She alerted the rest of the staff and they all got out before the device went off and destroyed the building.

Despite this, I had foolishly formed the opinion that in recent years everyone had pretty well ‘made up’ and that things were back to normal (whatever ‘normal’ is).

This opinion changed over the past few days after Izzy and I were guided through the Catholic/Protestant hotspots. Make no mistake about it, the animosity and fear still exists between these sectarian communities.

This morning we actually ventured into an IRA pub on the Falls Road and spent an interesting time listening to the owner give the ‘other’ (Republican) side of the argument together with a detailed description of how it all started.

I’m not for one moment going to pretend to be an authority on this issue but I thought that I’d share just a few images that I took over the past couple of days which (hopefully) portrays the depth of suffering that a divided community can experience. (It’s worthwhile zooming in on some of them to get the detail).

As I said above, sometimes we forget how luck we are…..

Belfast (17) (Medium)

Izzy holding four types of rubber bullets used by the police/army. I always thought that these were the size of standard ammo but it’s now easy to understand how so many people were killed by them.

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The 15m high wall/fence that separates part of the Catholic & Protestant sectors.

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Footpaths and light-poles in the loyalist areas are often painted red, white & blue and there are literally tens of thousands of union jacks and loyalist flags flying off buildings and light-poles after the government decided not to fly the ‘Jack’ over City Hall.

 

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Just one of the many gates that gets locked every night to separate the Catholic & Protestant areas

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There are plaques like this erected by both the Catholics & Protestants all over the area claiming the murders by the other side.

 

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A row of houses in the Catholic sector

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The back yards of the same houses entirely surrounded by security mesh. The closest house is being renovated (you can see the stain on the adjoining wall where the mesh used to be). The occupants have had to vacate the house whilst the work was carried out as it wouldn’t be safe for them to stay.

 

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Just one of the hundreds of political walls throughout Belfast

 

 

Dunmurry Police Station

Dunmurray Police Station (a little different to the one at Bargara!)

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This morning (Saturday) we just happened upon this UVF paramilitary funeral on the Shankhill Road. Very nervous about taking the photo!

 

Several of these were patrolling the Shankhill Road after the funeral had passed

At least six of these were patrolling the Shankhill Road after the funeral had passed. The Para’s had bundled into a van and driven off as soon as the hearse had passed and they had given the salute. Unmarked police vehicles in the city can be identified by the dark green bullet-proof windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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