The Troubles

"The Troubles " the story is set in Belfast and the North East in 1969.
Seamus Webster and his family flee the riots in Belfast and come to live on Barnstaple Road in North Shields - where he takes up work as a crane driver in Smith's Docks his wife Annie finds a job in the Co-op in Whitley Bay - Seamus is good at DIY and gets lots of work decorating or fitting out new kitchens for people. His father Michael is serving a very long sentence when he is implicated in a
bombing of an army base- his skills as a bomb maker have been passed down to his oldest son and Stephen Mcgill is on the look -out for him as a bombing campaign has begun on mainland Britain. Newcastle has been chosen as the target - can Seamus avoid getting mixed up in this. Read what happens in this tense thriller.

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THE TROUBLES

 

By Terry Patterson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brenda Webster had always been self conscious about her looks ever since she was at school when Rob Kelly who was in her class called her “Irish Pipe cleaner” because she was thin.

She was fifteen and very plain looking; her hair was cut short by her mother to avoid nits.’ She had to wear a long grey pleated skirt; and a black cardigan; her white socks which she bought with her babysitting money was the only thing she could really call her own as the rest of her school uniform came from her cousin June Murphy.

Annie Webster moved from Belfast to escape the troubles. She didn’t want her son growing up among the violence so on July 22nd 1969 they sailed from the Irish Sea to Stranraer then drove through Scotland and ended up in North Shields because her husband Seamus could find work on the docks. Seamus was always good with his hands; he could fix anything from cars to cranes. He was good at DIY jobs as well which brought in extra cash when he did wallpapering or painting jobs around the town.

Some of the worst rioting took place in August that year. Political and sectarian riots broke out I Belfast and Derry which left six people dead; including a 9 year old boy called Patrick Rooney. The violence had been sporadic had came about as a result of a demonstration by the Orangemen. Ulster Protestant loyalists clashed with Irish Catholics. They called it the battle of Bogside which erupted in Beverley Street. Skirmishes between the RUC followed in the Falls and Shankhill Roads, Divis Street, Hastings Street, Cummin Road, and Springfield Road took place. Hundreds were injured by bricks, petrol bombs and bullets as snipers on the roof tops took pot shots at people. Buildings and businesses were burnt out. The reverend Ian Paisley opposed a report by the international committee of Jurists. He also criticised the Irish government for the police brutality; saying that the RUC were using Religious discrimination against Catholic demonstrators. Terence O’Neil the Prime Minister for Northern Ireland asked for a truce after he called for reforms. He asked for an end to the demonstrations from either side; but in spite of the request made by O’Neil demonstrations continued from Belfast to Derry. Loyalists and off duty policemen got involved. They attacked the demonstrators killing Frank McCluskey after he was hit on the head with a truncheon.

Retaliation led to the deaths of Hugh McCabe, Michael Lynch, Gerald McCauley, and Samuel McLannen. Three years of violence followed where bombings, cars were set on fire and looting took place. Annie and Seamus Webster were now happy that they had escaped “The Troubles.

 

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