THIS week on Over The Wire, James McCarthy is joined by campaigner and former republican prisoner, Jim McCann to discuss the events surrounding the burning of Long Kesh in October 1974 alongside the belief that the British forces used CR Gas on inmates which may have resulted in the deaths of hundreds from cancer. We are marking 50 years of the Andersonstown News with our new podcast Over The Wire. In each episode, we will be taking a look back at the stories and the people that we have covered over the past five decades.
THIS week on Over The Wire, James McCarthy is joined by Ballymurphy woman and academic at Ulster University's Transitional Justice Institute, Eilish Rooney, alongside Father James Joyce from the Bronx in the heart of New York City, to discuss the life and legacy of former Andersonstown News columnist and confidante to the people of West Belfast, Father Des Wilson.
THIS week in Over The Wire, James McCarthy is joined by former West Belfast councillor and MLA, Fra McCann, to discuss living conditions in the lower Falls during the Troubles and the campaign to see the demolition of Divis Flats.
THE Andersonstown News was born as a voice for the voiceless in November 1972. A community response to the suffocating repression of civil rights, brought to a head by internment without trial, this paper challenged the official propaganda peddled by the mainstream media and breached the wall of silence built around state abuse and injustice of the men and women 'behind the wire'. This year, as we mark 50 years of speaking truth to power, we continue to provide a voice for the community champions who have been drum majors for justice for two generation and counting. And we are doing so in these changing times with changing modes of communication - switching print for podcast. We hope you enjoy our new 'Over The Wire' podcast by our reporter James McCarthy featuring some of the unsung heroes of this past half-century. In our first episode, we were joined by Ciaran Cahill from Springhill Community House, an organisation which is also celebrating its golden anniversary this year, to discuss one of our most memorable headlines from the early days – Nuns fired by Canon. This story looked at how Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Charity were forced to leave the area by Canon Murphy and through this podcast episode, Ciaran reflected on how they came to live in the area, their dismissal and the legacy that Mother Teresa and her nuns have left behind. “It was all done Father Des [Wilson],” he said. “He was doing a lot of work, you know, speaking to different faiths, and he had a Methodist minister who was based in London, Roger Grieves, and he met Mother Teresa when he was in London. “Mother Teresa had said to him that she wanted to set up a house here in Belfast, possibly along an interface or a peace line, obviously, we were going through a very difficult time with conflict. So he spoke to Des as about that. “Des feared, really, that setting up a house with Mother Teresa, on the peace line would give the wrong idea that it was a conflict between Catholic and Protestants rather than, both bad government and inequality. “So he said, really the thing to do is the invite her to Ballymurphy, and for her to decide herself. So that invitation went out and she came to Ballymurphy on the second of October 1971. “Father Des said mass at 10:30 the next morning in Corpus Christi Parish, and he announced that Mother Teresa was there. She received a standing ovation, which would have been unusual in 1971. “As soon as mass was over, really, the congregation, the community here in Springhill and Ballymurphy just embraced her. And Des said that she just disappeared for a period of time.” Ciaran said that the people of Ballymurphy took Mother Teresa into their homes, and then eventually, she came back out and she decided that she wanted to set up a house in the area and she sought the proper permission. “She went to the bishop, Bishop Philbin at the time, and he gave her his blessing that she could do that within the community,” Ciaran continued. “So the house there 119 Springhill Avenue became the Missionaries of Charity house and convent. “They operated out of that for the for the time that they were here. During that whole period really it was about sort of building morale within the community. Internment had just happened. 11 People had been killed in the Ballymurphy massacre, including the parish priest here. “So people were feeling that and they were just delighted that somebody with the standing of Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa came to set up her convent here and work with the people. “She set up classes and cookery, crochet, music classes, crafts, and after a period of time they actually set up a wee craft shop. So they were selling the stuff they were making from the shop as well as going around the community and visiting families.” Recounting personal memory of Mother Teresa, Ciaran added: “She called to my home, my father had been arrested during internment, my mum was left at home with the children. She had just had her baby girl, the only girl of the family in December 1971.
AS part of our fiftieth anniversary celebrations, we have launched a new podcast – Over The Wire and each week we will be taking a look back at some of the stories and the people who made the Andersonstown News and West Belfast what it is today. This week we were joined by Dr Éamon Phoenix who is currently working with the Colin Neighbourhood Partnership to develop their own series of podcasts and a heritage trail looking back at the history of the Colin area. In this week’s episode, we discussed the development of the Poleglass estate and the unionist opposition to the plans.
THIS week on Over The Wire, we are returning to the 1970s as we are joined by prominent historian Dr Éamon Phoenix to take a look back at a period when the chronic housing shortage in Catholic areas led the newly created Housing Executive to propose building a substantial new estate at Poleglass on the outskirts of West Belfast.
ON 31 October 1983, a public meeting was held in Conway Mill to launch a campaign to save Celtic Park on the Donegall Road after the site was earmarked for redevelopment as a Dunnes Stores supermarket.
This week on Over The Wire, James McCarthy is turning the clock back to 1982 when a group of local women who had known each other socially, decided to open a women’s centre on the Falls Road against a backdrop of increasing poverty and violence against women. After struggling to find a location for the centre, a premises was found and the Housing Executive agreed to let it to the group for a peppercorn rent of 5p per week.