Unionists claim victimhood
Unionists claim victimhood

Historians have been baffled by a unionist mural which claims that thousands of Protestant women and children fled to Liverpool from Belfast during the conflict.

The newly painted gable wall purports to depict "the untold story" of August 1971, a time it claims when "the loyal people of Liverpool held out the hand of friendship in our hour of need".

The loyalist mural, which pledges never to forget that bond of friendship, ends with the traditional sentiment of 'No Surrender'.

Dr Eamonn Phoenix, a historian who has examined all cabinet papers released since 1960 and a large number of military documents covering that period, said he has found no reference to it.

"As a political historian immersed in cabinet papers and security welfare reports since the 1960s, I have not come across any major case of migration over to England of large numbers of Protestant people," he said.

August 1971 saw serious unrest on the streets of Belfast and the introduction of internment.

While over ten thousand nationalists poured across the border into the South and were being put up in military camps at the height of the conflict, Belfast newspapers were reporting that "A Protestant organisation had offered to shelter around 60 children in Liverpool".

A statement last week from the unionist paramilitary UDA calling for an end to 'oppression of Protestant people' has been branded "absurd".

The UDA has been blamed for orchestrating violence following the rerouting of a contentious anti-Catholic  parade in  of west Belfast earlier this month.

Sinn Fein Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew last night said bad leadership on the part of unionist politicians had allowed the UDA to "set the agenda".

"We have seen not just the violence of the past week or so but an orchestrated campaign of sectarian loyalist violence all summer long," she said.

"This statement would be  laughable if it wasn't for the
fact that the unionist paramilitaries are the biggest threat to unionist communities."

* A UDA mural on a gable wall in a working class unionist east Belfast estate has been replaced by a painting of a west Belfast British war hero.

James Magennis, a Catholic from west Belfast, is the only northerner to ever receive the highest British military decoration, the Victoria Cross.

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