Marching Season: Dark Clouds Over Derry, Victims of Troubles Remembered in Galway

Shoes Tell a StoryShoes Tell a Story

It is marching season in the North of Ireland. Tensions and inter-neighbourhood violence has been brewing. The British Army have been spotted on the back lanes of The Bogside in Derry. This is not helping matters.

(Excuse the wording and tweets, it’s a primary video source and in no way reflects The Eye)

From what we see online, a convoy of police landrovers – not jeeps – arrived. Folk thinking it was PSNI. There were problems with an attack on The Fountain area across the Peace Wall, so a visit was expected.

The mood had been darkened by the Orange drums of marching season. This was easily fanned into a random attack at those within firing range. While their politics are different, they had very little to do with the rising tensions.

They are innocent too.

But within the Trojan horses of ‘police’ vehicles, were fully uniformed British troops. This has brought back bad memories in the area, and will only help recruit for extremists in the area.

So the dance of violence – albeit at a lower scale – and hatred goes on.

Shoes Remember the Victims

On the foreground of the Spanish Arch here in Galway, there is an exhibition of shoes. I went over, and saw there were activists from the Pat Finucane Centre from the North of Ireland there.

Set The Truth Free

Set The Truth Free

The shoes each represented a victim of the troubles. UDA collusion victims, victims of the Glenanne gang and so on. Part of a campaign for justice for them from the British and Irish governments.

I spoke with one of the curators of the exhibition, who said they did not get to bring down the whole thing, it was but a partial exhibition. Its’ scale alone, being but partial, brings home each individual story, often forgotten in these comparatively peaceful times.

In Their Footsteps

In Their Footsteps

Gerard Slane

Gerard Slane

Garry English

Garry English

Miami Showband

Miami Showband

Pat Finucane

Pat Finucane

Gerard Cairns

Gerard Cairns

John McKerr

John McKerr

Stephen McConomy

Stephen McConomy

Moving On: to do so, we must not repeat the problems of the past

When someone is a political opponent, having them killed is not a hallmark of a democracy. The counter revolutionary actions of the Special Forces Unit, and allied groupings of MI5 in their dirty war against republicans must never be repeated. Those guilty of wrongdoing on the state’s orders must answer.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission style body akin to South Africa has been mooted, and has its merits. It’s for something like this the activists want the ear of the British and Irish governments.

Until this is sorted, there will be little confidence in what is still a fragile peace. The resistance to what is termed ‘normalisation’ will gain steam when there is no justice for past wrongs – done in the name of the state.

The scenes we have seen, in a comparatively quiet marching season, will become more common and more violent in the coming years unless this happens. The people must not be forgotten. Or the youth of today will become the paramilitaries of tomorrow.

We do not need any more shoes to add to the exhibition.

About the Author

Thomas Carty
Thomas Carty is a Renmore resident, having moved to Galway for work a couple of years ago. Both his parents were originally from Ballinalee in Co. Longford but he grew up in Banagher and maintains his Offaly connections with membership of the poetry group Tullamore Rhymers Club. An amateur genealogist and historian, he writes on a range of topics that grab his interest. He works at security to pay the bills, and travels widely around Europe to keep sane!