One of the most interesting aspects of the past few weeks has been that when writing up and taping presentations for Texas….I am reminded that some things have changed and some things have not changed that much over the past fifty years.
This Decade of Centenaries SHOULD include a reference to the Divis Street Riots of 1964. I wasa 12 year old pupil at a nearby school. During a Wstminster Election, the RUC from Hastings Street was prevailed upon by a local firebrand preacher to remove an Irish National Flag from the Election HQ of Billy McMillen, the Republican candidate.
The firebrand preacher threatened to lead “shipyard men” from Harland & Wolffe to remove the offending flag if the RUC did not do their “duty”.
Some historical notes: the firebrand preacher was Rev Ian Paisley who would later serve as Norn Iron’s First Minister ,,,,,,,,,,in partnership with Sinn Féin……….and perhaps more confusingly for younger readers…..the shipyard Harland & Wolffe was actually an industry in Belfast. Think of it as the place where the Titanic Quarter now is.
Tomorrow night at Belfast City Hall…….Ian Paisley’s successors in the DUP will be fighting to keep the British Flag flying at the City Hall all year round, rather than on “designated days”. How times have changed.
Well actually they havent changed that much at all.
Over on Stratagem-O’Toole the excellent “Alan in Belfast” is vexed that the inevitable loyalist protest might lead to some disruption to traffic. Well that is of course true. But another two hours of traffic disruption added to all those detours which try our patience in and around the Twelfth of July…………its a day for everyone (!!!) of course. And only yesterday in Derry there was some disruption caused by the Apprentice Boys of Derry march.
Yet I tend to prefer Reality to Press Relations Sham. Those coming to Belfast City Hall tomorrow about 6pm will see a more authentic Belfast than the one which hosts Justin Bieber and the MTV Awards.