The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Lower Falls Memories


Kathleen O'Halloran • 6 September 2003

In your September 1 issue, I read with great interest your article on secret war graves. Everything that could be said has been said to condemn this awful murder. The author of secret war graves wrote another article in An Phoblacht in 1992 - The Lower Ormeau Road - A Community in Grief. If my memory serves me correctly your journalist was asked to write that piece because it was about the community from which he came. Write it he did, with great sensitivity and an eloquence which is chacteristic of all his work.

However, no one from the lower Falls, the community in which the McConvilles lived has come forward to speak publicly in any way. I come from the community where the McConvilles resided at the time they resided there and I have a few words to say in defence of that community. I feel I need to say something in our defence because so much bad press has come our way due to this awful murder. For example, Jean McConville's son-in-law Mr. McKendry wrote a book which was no PR exercise for the people of the lower Falls. This is understandable, but on a recent holiday I picked up an English language newspaper and I was horrified at the reading of it. The journalist implying in some sense that our whole community was in some way at fault.

We moved into the new state-of-the-art Divis complex in 1969, and shortly after that the Falls Road went up in flames. Our street - Ardmoulin St., the half which ran from Milford St. to the Falls, all moved together on the same day on to the same balcony - Guilford Walk. There were no new faces among us. Ours was a close knit community with some families having lived in the same area cheek by jowl for generations. Those were tough impoverished times. We didn't need to read Frank McCourt's book to gain an insight into poverty we lived it. It is my recollection that no one neighbour would have seen another stuck. A family with ten children was no big deal; I myself am number six in line.

The lower Falls was and still is Republican to the backbone, and can hold its head up and take its place among all other communities who have fought and suffered this last thirty years. The fact that this awful murder happened is no slur on our community. Just as the awful tragedy in Soham was no slur upon that community.

I can find no one in the 'lower whack' who knew the McConvilles on anything other than nodding terms. On Guilford Walk I lived less than one hundred yards away from the McConvilles on Farset and I can say with my hand on my heart that I never knew Mrs. McKendry (Jean's daughter) either from school or from being about the area as a teenager. The McConvilles lived among us but were not of us - blow ins- and I mean to offend no one by saying that. However, when I pick up a tabloid newspaper or see upsetting scenes of excavations on our television screens my heart is sore for the McConvilles.

I wish their memories of the lower Falls were like mine. As for Jean McConville may her soul rest in peace.
















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

7 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Bush, Coke-a-Cola and the Nazis
Eamonn McCann


A Regime of Silence
Anthony McIntyre


Lower Falls Memories
Kathleen O'Halloran


My Axis of Evil
Pedram Moallemian


In Memory of Israfil Shiri 1973-2003
Debbie Grue


IRPWA Calls on Paul Murphy to Reveal Recommendations
Martin Mulholland


A Letter to Mr Foley
Matthew Kavanagh


4 September 2003


US Denies It Gave Safe Harbor to Brian Nelson
Fr Sean Mc Manus


Between Theory and Reality
Eamon Sweeney


In the Name of Security
Jim J Kane


Caught at it Again
Anthony McIntyre


The History of the Troubles According to the Provos
John Nixon


Moving Forward Past the Past
Davy Carlin


More Questions than Answers
Mick Hall


In Memory of Robert Emmet

Charles Murnick


Attempted Suicide by Iranian Asylum Seeker
Debbie Grue


Dublin: Maghberry Briefing Meeting
Mags Glennon


Belfast Anti-War Movement
Public Meeting




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