King Billy makes a comeback

The Village area used to be known for its large King William mural (most notable was the pictured horse’s ability to walk on water). Demolition removed it a number of years ago but now he is to make a comeback with a King William mural to become a feature of the area again. It will replace a paramilitary mural of the grim reaper (a rip off of an Iron Maiden Album cover). The Arts Council Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough, said:

“The fact that it’s being replaced by King William is not an act of triumphalism. King William is not offensive to people in this area. It’s part of their legitimate Orange cultural heritage.”

It is one of 18 new mural projects.

  • austin

    Some nice new NAZI graffiti on display there as well as King Billy, FD.

    The Village-The Land of a Thousand Welcomes……….

  • Debbie

    wee king billy had a ten fut willy
    and he showed it to the woman next door
    she thought it was a snake
    so she hit it with a rake
    and now he has a willy no more.

  • Dec

    And a bargain at £18,000.

  • Mark McGregor

    While some may welcome Loyalist vetted Arts Council projects in the Village, éirígí were focusing on a small victory by Village residents in having their deprivation addressed. Something of more longterm benefit than any ‘mural’ and given the media attention on one over the other I’m sure their battles to address neglect and poverty in the future will be as equally hardly fought as the first victory.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”Some nice new NAZI graffiti on display there as well as King Billy, FD.

    The Village-The Land of a Thousand Welcomes……….”[/i]

    austin, The Republic of Ireland are the Nazi supporters, you’re u-turn of history will not wash. The Irish president and the [play the ball moderator] Priest Reid can spout Protestants are Nazi’s till their hearts are content, but they will never suppress the abominable history of the Irish republics collusion with Nazi Germany. SHAME!

  • fair_deal

    Mark

    It’s all part of the re-generation of the area.

    The Village regeneration announcement received extensive coverage in the media (both print, TV and radio).

    The eirgi statement attack including the assembly is a bit much as it was the assembly that found the money and made the decision.

  • Twinbrook

    Do you not mean..

    Roman Catholic Priest!

    Maybe you could enlighten us with any instance of collusion with the Nazis when you can`t and won`t admit that the British State ran and (still do),loyalist drug dealing murderers.

    Have yet to see one Nationalist poster on this site denigrate or abuse the role of a minister with any derogatory term..

  • Mark McGregor

    f_d,

    To me the statement reads as a straight commendation of working class activism eventually shaming the establishment into action and a proper reflection that the establishment often fails to deliver its promises.

    Without a strong local campaign there would have been no progress, that campaign wasn’t lead by elected representatives it was lead by ordinary people. For the political class to claim they won the battle is a tad rich when they didn’t engage in a decades long fight.

    As it says in the piece the campaigning residents of the Village are a role model in challenging deprivation in the face of intransigence.

  • cut the bull

    A complete waste of money, what a shambles.

  • fair_deal

    Mark

    It has been a very good campaign. However, I just find the specific criticism of the assembly somewhat unfair. They have been in power for 9 months asked to act and they did. The campaign has also sought and recieved all-party support (despite a couple fo wobbles).

    I must admit I do come to the overall topic with a sad heart.

    I’m a long-term resident of the Village (14 years) and been involved in a number of local community inititatives.

    From the day and hour I moved in the housing conditions were well documented even then. What gets omitted in the campaign today is that 12 years ago the Village was offered a regeneration plan and refused it (although NIHE’s ‘consultation’ was its usual ham-fisted that fed rather than addressed concerns).

    I was one of the minority who voted in favour of regeneration back then. One of my neighbours was involved on the residents committee at the time and was put into coventry by some residents as she was in favour of it. I’m heartened that people have come to see the sense in regeneration.

    However, it was a missed opportunity that condemned too many to living (and dying) in squalid conditions for over another decade. In particular I remember one pensioner who I got to know at a local lunch club, the slum conditions he lived in and that contributed to his death six years ago.

  • Mark McGregor

    f_d,

    I didn’t know about the previous proposal and can understand your view on a missed opportunity but as the campaign clearly demonstrates the area clearly has a strong community focus. Thus, I’m unsurprised at rejection of a H.Exec proposal, I’m well aware of how many of their projects that improved housing, destroyed communities and lead to huge social problems.

    Hopefully this works out and improves housing and environment while growing community cohesion.

    The Assembly aspect is a minor issue and is treated as such in the éirígí article, the main focus is where I think it should be – commending the Village community activists on their success.

  • austin

    ‘austin, The Republic of Ireland are the Nazi supporters, you’re u-turn of history will not wash.’

    Sorry UMH – Until you put me right, I thought it was the locals in the Village who daubed the Nazi graffiti but clearly it was a crowd of those pesky Southerners who appeared on the scene. First it was Aer Lingus, then Ryanair,now der comin’ over da border with der bleeding paintpots, the fly feckers..

  • Prince Eoghan

    FD

    Great idea! The portrait of King Billy will bring a more feminine touch ;¬)

    Isnt the village supposed to have a more cosmopolitan and multicultural population these days. Is it still as hard core Loyalist as whence it once was?

  • joeCanuck

    “projects that improved housing, destroyed communities and lead to huge social problems.”

    Too true. I guess their only defence was that they just didn’t understand what they were doing. Everything was top town.

    Good luck to the Village.

  • joeCanuck

    Meanwhile the BBC is reporting that some idiot or idiots are besmirching the population by painting racist slogans. Shame.

  • 0b101010

    The “UDA had decided that the mural should be replaced by the King William portrait” — how gracious of them. Couldn’t they think of something more original than yet another mural of William III? If you were to analyse murals alone, you’d conclude loyalist history is summed up by King Billy, Iron Maiden, the Somme, moustaches and disfigured hands. Maybe it is.

    Anyway, I hope it’s painted with gold flecks for that eighteen grand (what have the negotiations over the past five years cost?). I’m sure it’ll be nice scenery for the locals on their trips to the outhouse.

  • joeCanuck

    0b101010,

    Doubtless when it’s finished you’ll be taking a walk/drive over there so that you can be offended.

  • Muad’Dub

    Interesting development. Once can only wonder what Iron Maiden thought of loyalists hijacking their symbol.

  • 0b101010

    Doubtless when it’s finished you’ll be taking a walk/drive over there so that you can be offended.

    Ouch. Admittedly I don’t need to leave my ivory tower and walk around the Village to take offence over UDA/Combat 18 being allowed to control regeneration of the area; nor to take offense at an amount higher than most people’s salaries in the country being wasted on turning a single painting of Eddie into Billy, while most of the Village live in 19th Century conditions. How callous of me.

  • Maud – Iron Maiden have collectively expressed their annoyance at the use of the imagery of the band mascot on loyalist murals. The image is of the mascot (Eddie) from the single cover of the song The Trooper, which is a Crimean War story, based loosely on the Tennyson poem. On Maiden’s Dance of Death tour date in Dublin the band were booed by a small handful of idiots when they played The Trooper (as the stage show has singer Brice Dickinson waving a tattered Union Flag in line with the historic basis of the song). 18 months later Dickinson, onstage at the RDS Arena in Dublin expressed his annoyance at both the murals and the booing. He told the crowd they’d be playing the song again. Of the many thousand there almost all (apart from one drunken prat) cheered. As Dickinson said ‘it’s about a war that ended more than a hundred years ago!’

  • joeCanuck

    A number of people have talked about wasted money. Perhaps they haven’t taken Economics 101 and don’t know that money doesn’t just disappear (Northern Banknote bonfires excepted).
    The money gets spent over and over again bringing employment along in its wake.

  • 0b101010

    Perhaps they haven’t taken Economics 101

    Funnily enough I have, and the rest. I think I skipped the class on a mural-based economy.

  • LURIG

    If this is to be a true to life/history portrait should there not also be a few of his male partners alongside him, after all he did have boyfriends too. That’s not a social condemnation or fundamentalist accusation but a historical fact so be true to the man. Wouldn’t loyalists, Unionists and Free Presbyterian firebrands want to tell the world the correct life story of their hero OR is it only 21st century partnerships and same sex City Hall marriages that draws their protests and ire. In addition the singer Tom Robinson could be invited to play his song ‘Sing If You’re Glad To Be Gay’ as they unveil it.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    mark/ fair deal

    You two have the most roundabout way of actually agreeing with each other – not sure if it’s funny or tragic yet ;o)

    I thought the man who pushed things over the tipping point was wee Jack Skillen. The photos and footage of him and the Victorian (literally) conditions of his home would have embarrassed anyone into doing something positive.

    I certainly won’t forget Jack standing in his bedroom (or was it his main room?), a bed to one side of him and his bath to the other. He only had an outside toilet. Poor guy, it woulda broke your heart.

    I don’t think Ritchie realised how bad things were in the Village, and while I think she would have done something, the media coverage ensured it would happen more quickly than perhaps it was going to.

    It would be uncouth not to congratulate the GVRT and other activists who worked to ensure the Village was no longer ignored – and while I suspect he doesn’t have a PC… well done Jack!

  • joeCanuck

    What were the circumstances of Jack’s publicity, Gonzo, documentary?

  • chewnic

    The reason why the Village had not been redeveloped before now had nothing to do with government inactivity. There was and still remains a substantial number of people within the area who do not want the old homes razed to the ground and new ones built.Homeowners and private landlords are particularly opposed to this option and thwarted several DSD plans for redevelopment in the past.
    Fair play to GVRT for finally overcoming the internal obstacles within the area and for facing down the bigots who attack the local ethnic populace.

    However the fact is that people like Mr Skillen were forced to live in such poor conditions for so long because of internal opposition to redevlopment and not due to government inactivity.

  • A N Other

    UMH,

    So we’re ll Nazis down South, eh?

    Ok, here’s my equally mature response:-

    I’d rather vote for Hitler than swim in my own Ulster-Scots bile in that welcoming area of South Belfast known as The Village…

  • Slartibuckfast

    I’m not joking about here because it would be good to know whether it’s true or not…does anyone know if there’s any historical truth to the allegations that William was a bi transvestite? Some people I memtion this to on message boards think I’m just kidding but the rumours are certainly real (dating from his time). That’s all I know of it though. It would be pretty funny if it were true considering some of the knuckle draggers who worship his name.

  • thank god for 101

    A number of people have talked about wasted money. Perhaps they haven’t taken Economics 101 and don’t know that money doesn’t just disappear (Northern Banknote bonfires excepted).
    The money gets spent over and over again bringing employment along in its wake.

    AAAH so thats why all the loyalists were selling drugs in sandy row it was in pursuit of Economics 101 brill thats ok then.Thanks for that joe

  • victor1

    I would have thought that the 18 Grand would have been better spent on sticking an inside loo in Jack Skillens house.

  • ally

    brilliant, Victor1………..

  • Turgon

    A new mural of King William is a lot better than a terrorist one and I suppose we do have a cultural tradition of these things (murals) and in the Village it will cause little offence. Has the local community been properly consulted and is this what they want?

    However, much my biggest concern here is the money. £18,000 is a vast sum of money, surely more than is needed to paint the mural. This leads me to a fear, I hope unfounded, that the money might find its way to the UDA. Are there safeguards in place to ensure that this money does not end up there? How can we be sure this is not the Conflict Transformation Initiative mk2?

  • joeCanuck

    18, 000 is not a vast sum of money. It’s less than half of what you would pay for a pokey wee office.

  • willowfield

    Negotiations on the repainting began five years ago with the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

    Sad that we live in a society in which public money is spent on projects that are dependent on “negotiations” with outlawed criminal organisations.

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the £18,000 it is supposedly going to cost to replace the mural.

  • joeCanuck

    Thank god for 101:

    I’m not at all clear to me why you have brought “loyalist” drug dealing into this discussion.
    I certainly hope you are not implying that I would support that particular economic activity.

  • joeCanuck

    ..it’s not…

  • Moochin Photoman

    Having conducted a series of workshops in the village a few years ago the mural was photographed and the comments from the kids was that YES they did find it scary and that they didn’t like it.
    That it is to come down is a good thing.
    As for the money involved its a small price to pay for the mental health of future generations and a step in the right direction for the area.
    The prevalence of nazi/racist graffiti is, i fear, on the rise. I have seen a variety of stickers in all corners of the city.

  • Ms Wiz

    Well said Willowfield, you’ve summed it up in one. Who are the UDA to pontificate on the spending of public money? Are they the local elected representatives of the area? Aren’t the paramilitaries supposed to be decommisioning and leaving the scene?

    £18,000 for a painted mural on canvas? The materials themselves probably cost a few thou at the most so I presume the rest will be for the labour of the artists concerned? Whichever way you look at it someone’s getting stroked here.

  • 9 county Ulster is my homeland

    Whats with these idiots painting pictures of a gay Dutchman.

  • Richard James

    “Maybe you could enlighten us with any instance of collusion with the Nazis”

    Let’s see; IRA chiefs of staff dying on U-boats, de Valera being gutted by his buddy Hitler snuffing it and signing his book of condolence (he also thought the way the Nazis dealt with the Sudetenland would be a good precendence for Ulster).

    In contrast those evil Nazi Ulster Unionists er… thought against Germany!

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I’m not joking about here because it would be good to know whether it’s true or not…does anyone know if there’s any historical truth to the allegations that William was a bi transvestite?”

    Little troll
    There are no- that’s not one- contemperaneous rumours that William was a tranny. There are several rumours that he was overly friendly with some of his Dutch noblemen, many put about by disgruntled English courtiers who were displaced by them. One,Bentinck, slept in his bed with him when he had smallpox, as the quacks at the time thought that would help fight the illness.It hardly makes him a friend of Dorothy, nor would, I suspect, someone suffering from a lifethreatening disease be gagging for a shag.

    He was rumoured to have at least one mistress,Elizabeth de Villiers, which by the standards of the time and his two Royal predecessors was pretty restrained. It is also undeniable that he was profoundly religious, and thus would have probably shared the church’s distaste for homosexuality . Most serious biographers – of both him and his friends- conclude that he was not particularly disposed to Ugandan discussions with either gender.

    If you want to slander the memory of the man who brought such delights as gin and stout to civilise this country, find another ground.

  • Slartibuckfast

    Indeed. Was trying to cure his smallpox. Benedict should have said he was sports massaging him and seen if that one worked better.

    I wonder if Mistress de Villiers ever did get those knickers back btw.

  • Oilifear

    “She said the UDA had decided that the mural should be replaced by the King William portrait.”

    It’s quite scary how nonchalantly this statement appears in the article.

    On to the off-topic: “In contrast those evil Nazi Ulster Unionists er… thought [sic] against Germany!”

    While I must admire the manner in which Ulstermen defeated the Nazi menace through the power of their minds alone, I feel obliged to point out some numbers:

    Of men enlisted in the British army:

    1942:
    * 23,549 born in Éire
    * 28,287 born in Northern Ireland

    1944:
    * 27,840 born in Éire
    * 26,579 born in Northern Ireland

    In total, for the duration of the war, 99,997 Irishmen are estimated to have fought, with the numbers equally divided between North and south (link). Bearing in mind that the southern-born men were volunteering to fight in a foreign army, under media black-out and without any public encouragement at home, that’s quite a remarkable statistic.

    De Valera’s visit to Hempel was bizarre – at the time as much as it is now – and we may never know what he was thinking, but it is unreflective of the southern Irish experience and attitude towards the war.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Bearing in mind that the southern-born men were volunteering to fight in a foreign army, under media black-out and without any public encouragement at home, that’s quite a remarkable statistic.”

    Well not really.
    You are quite correct to say they volunteered- as did Northerners- but I bet very few of them saw it as a foreign army. All were entitled to British citizenship, some had been serving soldiers in the first war,many were from Unionist families or families with generations of service in the British army.Ireland in 1939 was much less “foreign” than modern perspectives might think, in spite of a crash course in renaming streets, blowing up monuments, and painting Victorian pillar boxes green in the early 1920s

    I think the southern soldiers were more in tune with ordinary public opinion in the south, which- all sides take note- was generally pro-Allies. It was only the nutter republican fringe that really supported Germany, but there was a large enough constituency for the old fox De Valera to feel the need to tip his hat to it. Even he was less neutral than he ought to have been

  • freedom 2020

    King Billy was a gay homosexual, and that is an established historical fact.
    Typical that unionists have such molesters of youth as their heroes. Booby Sands would kill King Billy in a scrap any day of the week.

  • willowfield

    Olifear – the population of the South was much greater than that of the North, so proportionately far more Northerners volunteered than Southerners.

    But you are absolutely right to point out the contribution made by Southern volunteers – in defiance of the “official” cowardly line taken by their government.

  • Jo

    “a gay homosexual”

    As opposed to a straight one, then. 🙂

  • Oilifear

    darth rumsfeld,

    “… some had been serving soldiers in the first war …”

    That would put them at 40 years of age or older. The average age of a WW2 soldier was 23.

    “… I bet very few of them saw it as a foreign army …”

    Or so you would like to think. The facts is, it was.

    “All were entitled to British citizenship, some had been serving soldiers in the first war,many were from Unionist families or families with generations of service in the British army”

    Generalisation following generalisation. Many had couldn’t write and many were academics. Many were farmers and many were bankers. Many were clever and many were stupid. Many had red hair and many had no hair. In fact, there were many. Full stop.

    (As an exercise, why don’t you try repeating this generalisation to yourself: “Many were west of Ireland, Catholic, Gaelic-speaking sons of War of Independence-era IRA volunteers who despised the monarchy and all the crimes that Britain had committed against Ireland.”)

    “It was only the nutter republican fringe that really supported Germany, but there was a large enough constituency for the old fox De Valera to feel the need to tip his hat to it.”

    By locking them up in the Curragh? Effectively obliterating the IRA for a generation?

    —-

    willowfield

    “… the population of the South was much greater than that of the North, so proportionately far more Northerners volunteered than Southerners …”

    Yes, the level of volunteerism was roughly half that of the North. Taking the figures given above at face value the level of male volunteerism was about:

    * Northern Ireland: 1.3m pop. – male volunteerism (7%)
    * Éire: 3.0m pop. – male volunteerism (3%)

    The figure for Northern Ireland is typical for the UK as a whole (despite it being volunteerism rather than conscription). The figure for Éire, though, is very atypical. Remember, the United Kingdom was at war, with all the propaganda, nationalist mood and effort to enlist men that goes with it. Éire was explicitly not – there was a media black-out, no drive for men to sign-up, and the passage north or across the water was a self-funded and -motivated effort.

    “… the ‘official’ cowardly line taken by their government …”

    On a point of grammar, I think you mean “cowardly ‘official'” (though I don’t understand the need for inverted commas).

    In either case, it was not – and is not – the view of the Emergency in the south. The Emergency is seen as a time of great pride, when the Irish state made clear that it, and it alone, would dictate its own future. While Britain stood alone against Germany, we stood defiant against Britain. Not in a hostile way, and not in a way that would be to the detriment of Britain, but we made it clear that we were our own people and we would not hop to attention whenever Britain rung its bell.

    It has however driven a rift between the people of this island – and rides on the back of the Northern myth that only honest Ulster Protestants saw the Somme among the supposed infidelities of the Whore of Babylon.

    (Remember, too, that most European states declared neutral in 1939 and all those that could remained so. We were no different, only geographically fortunate.)