“who pull down statues, who deny the history of any place”

With Londonderry keen to capitalise on its 2013 UK City of Culture title, despite the apparent confusion of some, Mark Devenport notes a singular failure of irony by Northern Ireland junior Minister, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly.

Rejecting TUV calls for the historic buildings at the Maze to be demolished, Gerry Kelly told reporters in North Belfast this afternoon that the people calling for the bulldozers to be sent in were the kind of people “who pull down statues, who deny the history of any place”. What could have put that in the Sinn Fein Junior Minister’s mind? Could it have been the overnight attack on the statue of the Seventeenth Century Governor George Walker? As the news report makes clear this isn’t the first assault on a statue of the Governor – the original was destroyed in an IRA bomb attack in 1973.

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  • G O’Neill

    Its Firday night – why don’t you give the SF obsession a rest for the weekend.

  • ranger1640

    Kelly and the shinners attempting to rewrite history again, and wearing his hard fought won victim hood.


    Rev Hugh HANNA, a politically dominant figure of his time, probably the only HANNA ever to have a statue erected in his honour – made of black marble in Carlisle Circus, but only to have it blown up by the IRA.


    And then the IRA blow up a statue of King Billy in Dublin. Was this another attempt at bridge building from republicans and their never ending attempts to rewrite history.

    Only the authorised Sinn Fein/IRA history of Ireland is allowed to be bradcast.


  • Cynic

    I am delighted too to see the Bishop throw his full weight behind the Ballymurphy families and disclose those forensically accurate statements gathered by the Church back in 1971. What a pity they don’t seem to have been given to the police of government at the material time. Still, better late than never. Presumably the HET should now reopen this case and see what can be made of it.

    However, while I genuinely welcome this development, I have to say we need a lot more of it. Will the Bishop now go the whole hog and disclose all the other statements about child abuse? About terrorist activities by members of the church and what was done to cover those up and spirit people away before they could be arrested? Or have those all been ‘lost’?

  • old school

    “Smash H Block”
    “Don’t Smash H block.”
    Another Sinn Fein U turn…..haha!

  • Probably the sort of people who’d try to firebomb the Linenhall Library.

  • JH

    Yawn. How does this stuff get through.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I was actually in Derry City today, showing an American visitor around….wandering about the city centre and Bogside. taking pics etc.
    Although I am a fairly regular visitor, my visits rarely take in the city centre.
    Yet today, I could not locate a statue which I thought was outside the “Everything £1 Shop” of migrants ……have they moved it too?
    Also theres still a plaque honouring the Captain of the Mountjoy opposite the Guidhall. Surely a better target than Walker….not that I approve of that sorta thing.

  • old school

    Who blew up Governer Walker’s statue on the Walls?
    And which former Sinn Fein Councillor was charged with blowing up a statue of Queen Victoria inside the Guildhall?
    And was there ever an explanation given as to why poor Bob Warwick had has wee paint shop on the Strand Road bombed 21 times?

  • Rory Carr

    If the TUV are so keen on the demolition of unsightly constructions emblematic of an horrific past couldn’t they lead by example and self-destruct?

  • Brian Walker

    Ah, nice to be back to familiar themes – especially after a visit to the Maiden City. Actually the statue of my namesake ( no relation) survives, minus only a hand, in the little open air memorial beside the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall in Society St, which itself contains a fine and growing museum, open to all. The pillar on which the Gov stood was brought down from its plinth in a bastion of the walls, yards away above the old flashpoint of the now demolished Rossville flats in the Bogside. The big inscribed base survives. Aesthetically,whatever you think of the associations, the graceful pillar at the broadest part of the walls, the Grand Parade, is a sad loss. Yes, they did burn the big effigy of Lundy stuffed with fireworks on the side of the pillar every year. The debris wasn’t appreciated over the wall in the little streets of Nailor’s Row and Walker Square. The royal statues inside the Guildhall also survive, with very slight damage. Are they trying to tell us something? I’m not aware of any political move to shift them.

  • “As the news report makes clear this isn’t the first assault on a statue of the Governor – the original was destroyed in an IRA bomb attack in 1973.”

    It isn’t the first assault on the replica either – within a short time of it being installed it was dammaged with sledge hammers.

  • Greenflag

    These acts of vandalism should be condemned by all . Whether some of our blimpish statue bombers like it or not these memorials are part of OUR history .

    Now here’s a Dubliner with a proper perspective of the ‘statue ‘ bombers ‘ The original of the species I might add . A warning -not for those with sensitive ears who find the grating Dublin accent not to their liking . But f**k them anyway 🙂

    Enjoy Capper being recimitated I believe by an unnamed Irish Senator ;)))


  • bobbydylan

    i take it from G Kelly’s statement that Carson and Craig’s statues in Stormont will be staying.

    perhaps if we just weld a hurling stick into Carson’s upraised hand then the volunteers will rest easy that they didnt die in vain

  • Greenflag

    Given a choice between the present stiffy near the Liffey or Nelson’s Pillar -I think most Dubs would prefer the Pillar . At least Horatio had some character and the steps could be climbed to get a view of the city . The Pillar was the recognised centre of the city . Ask anybody where An Lar is and they’ll say It’s somewhere between Parnell St and Stephens Green ;(

    I’LL see at An Lar has never caught on .

  • Cynic

    … thyey didnt ….we now have an open democracy with republican and nationalist MLAS sitting alongside Unionist colleagues in a NI Assembly even more firmly embedded in the UK

  • Co. Down Man

    Peter do you ever stop… boring same awl shite.

  • A N Other

    Dear Mr Baker

    I think it is really time that you learnt to transcend the narrow confines of your own self-regarding, fearful egotism, in which “you” have become the measure of all things. Perhaps you could beging by getting yourself a copy of this book, and God forbid, reading it …


  • Alan Maskey

    Good post Mr Baker. It is always refreshing to be reminded what total idiots the leaders of Sinn Fein are.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I daresay that William Walker did contribute something to the City of Derry and its right and fitting that he should have a statue.
    I dont suppose any of us would quibble with the notion that people of import deserve a statue.
    Which means that many more Derry people will eventually be immortalised in public art form………..John Hume, Dana, Phil Coulter, Bishop Edward Daly, Martin McGuinness ……it would be a travesty if William Walker was not among them.

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse: John Hume, Dana, Phil Coulter, Bishop Edward Daly, Martin McGuinness
    Who knows? Statues may eventually come back into fashion. These days we tend to have murals and airports instead. Bishop Daly has his mural and he is still alive.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed Reader.
    as a rule, we should not erect statues to the Living.
    But its a reasonable bet that some of those I mentioned will have a statue erected in their honour.
    No doubt many Sluggerites would like to be re-incarnated as a pigeon if thats the case.
    Having been in Derry on Friday. ..gallery featuring work by Bogside “artists” (sic) being part of the day, one cannot help notice the number of monuments in the Bogside.
    Of course the Cenotaph i the Diamond or even Roaring Meg or Walker are prominent landmarks in the CITY itself and it strikes me as only right that some monuments depicting another aspect (the majority culture after all) might be given at least equal prominence.
    The whining of Derry unionists that their culture is being undermined should be treated with contempt.

  • John East Belfast


    Statues are from a day when there was no photography let alone other forms of modern media.

    Hence you have to have done something very special to justify a statue in the 21st century and none of the people you mention fall into that category.

    God help us though if another behind the scenes deal is done between DUP and SF and we get Paisley and Adams somewhere.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh I certainly take the point that statues are an older form of “art” as well as making a “political point” in many cases.

    The statues of Walker, the memorial to Browning and the Cenotaph all “say something” …..whether in the form of “traditional statues” or other memorial set an atmosphere.

    The Bloody Sunday Memorial, Free Derry Corner, the H Block Memorial, countless memorials to the IRA in towns and villages and various parts of Belfast provide a change in Ambience……which are as much part of the New Order as William Walkers one handed statue.

  • Cushy Glenn

    …I am utterly opposed to a statue for William Walker. He is my second cousin. I think George Walker might be more deserving however….

  • joeCanuck

    like it or not these memorials are part of OUR history

    Agree. If allowed to remain they can be come focal points to discuss our shared history which can only lead to discussions as to how we can move forward, together.