This poster is outside the Strand Bar in Mountpottinger Road. Niall Ó Donnghaile is a youthful Sinn Féin veteran and candidate in East Belfast. He is media savvy and a former Mayor of Belfast. He has done well to get a significant vote in the Short Strand area…a nationalist enclave in East Belfast. Especially after the party was rejected by residents in the aftermath of the murder of Robert McCartney.
Niall probably needs to wise up a bit. Id like to see him mature a bit. He cant really expect an Assembly seat without moving out of East Belfast, a place he clearly loves.
But “over the Bridge” is almost alien to a certified “Westie” like myself. I did have a cousin who lived in Chamberlain Street (a loyalist street) in the 1960s and it seemed hostile…even then. My only other experience in the 1960s was leaving a girl home from a Legion of Mary disco in South Belfast in 1968. Happy Days.
And I do recall the summer of 1970, when I went into the Short Strand a few days after the Battle of St Matthews. Difficult as life could be in West Belfast, it was or seemed more difficult there.
Short Strand SEEMS less dangerous now although Orange marches etc are a constant problem in the Marching Season. But the “peace walls” are helpful and certainly the disappearance of the old Belfast Corporation Electricity Department at Laganbank and Sirocco have made life more bearable. On the Albertbridge Road….road works and landscaping have created a neutral zone between communities.