Friday, 10 November 2017

SIGNS OF THE TIMES!

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Northern Ireland

It's a sign of the times...Catholic cleric makes donation to Shankill museum.

By Suzanne Breen BELFAST TELEGRAPH

November 10 2017

Bishop Pat Buckley with street signs he ’liberated’ from the Shankill Road in Belfast


An independent Catholic cleric will meet Shankill Road residents today to return street signs he "liberated" from the area almost 40 years ago.

Bishop Pat Buckley will hand over the nameplates which honour Catholic priests from the Falls who nursed Protestants during a 19th century cholera epidemic.

They will be housed in a small museum on the Shankill which had asked the rebel cleric to donate them.

Bishop Buckley told the Belfast Telegraph how at the height of the Troubles he had ventured across the peace line to remove the signs from four streets named after the heroic priests.

He recalled how he and another cleric had entered the loyalist stronghold with ladders, a hammer and a chisel in 1978 to take down the signs, just before the streets were demolished.

Bishop Buckley said that as a young curate in St Peter's in the lower Falls, he had learned how four priests from the parish had nursed Protestants on the Shankill who were suffering from cholera in 1832.

Belfast was experiencing an increasing number of sectarian clashes at the time. Bishop Buckley said: "The people of the Shankill were deeply moved by the generosity of the four priests and Blaney, Brennan, Loftus, and Meenan streets were named after them.

"In the late 1970s when I heard that the old streets were being demolished to make way for new housing, I asked Belfast City Council to give me the nameplates in memory of the priests but they refused. I was determined the signs wouldn't be destroyed with the streets."

Bishop Buckley recounted how one night in December 1978, he was walking home with the late Father Vincent McKinley after a Christmas party in Bishop William Philbin's north Belfast home.

"I'd had a few drinks and the roads were covered with snow and ice," he said. "We cut through the Shankill.

"As we passed those streets, I said to Fr McKinley we should swipe the nameplates and he agreed.

"So we returned to the parochial house, got his car, ladders, a hammer and a chisel and headed back to the Shankill to liberate them."



Bishop Buckley said a passing RUC patrol stopped at the scene. "I was up the ladder and Fr McKinley was holding it.

"The back door of the Land Rover opened and the police officers inside looked out. They seemed to be in a state of shock at what they saw.

"They glanced at each other and then drove away without saying a word," he recalled.

Bishop Buckley had the four nameplates mounted on wood by the carpentry department of a local secondary school.

The signs for Blaney and Brennan streets have been hanging in his kitchen.

Father McKinley kept the nameplates for Meenan and Loftus Streets but they can't be located.

Stephen Pollock, the coordinator of Greater Shankill ACT (Action for Community Transformation), which runs the museum, said: "My dad was researching local history when he came across the story of the street signs.


Stephen Pollock


"He thought it would be great to get them back to the Shankill. We contacted Pat Buckley and he said he'd be happy to return them."

Bishop Buckley said: "They asked me if I wanted anything from them and I said, 'Yes, after the presentation, I want you to take me to the most loyalist pub on the Shankill Road for a pint'.

"They've agreed and I'm very much looking forward to it."

As it worked out we retired to the Shankhill Glasgow Rangers Club.




36 comments:

  1. Your pectoral cross is hidden in the photo! Are you afraid of who you are?!?

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    Replies
    1. No. The traditional way to carry it is wearing a suit is in your pocked.

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    2. Agreed. Bishops always seem to carry their crosses as Pat states.

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  2. I bet Pat felt absolutely in his element in the Rangers' Club.

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    1. I have also celebtated a wedding in the goal post at Celtic Psrk Glasgow.

      I like people, whoever they are.

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  3. An uplifting tale... How were you received by the regulars?
    What happened to the visit to the Rex Bar?

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    1. The Rex was being prepared for a big quiz evening. So we switched to the Rangers.

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  4. Good on ya, Bishop P. . You always come up trumps, and you always will. Cos yer heart's in the right place.

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    1. Thank you MC. I am only human but my heart is in the right place.

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  5. Red trim and all. What separates you from that crowd in rome or maynooth? Absolutely nothing.

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  6. +Bishop Pat what a wonderful end to such a great piece of history. Isn't it beautiful that some peace has been found in such a most beautiful city where I have always been treated well by all sides since the Good Friday Agreement. My heart is with the Monks of Rostrevor each day by Web cam. Maybe you can let your readers know about why the monks are there.
    Question:did you go to Confession father for your Advent escapade? Or is it classed as the Just Sign Theory?! He he

    Bless you +Bishop Pat

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    1. I've been to Rostrevor Priory many times. A beautiful place which draws you into an inner sanctum of deep, abiding peace. No room for distractions, gossip, half truths, innuendo...just stark truthfulness of the human soul. Always a journey of the mind, heart and soul, thanks to the great Benedictine tradition. I recommend a visit to the Monastery anytime.

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  7. And the moral of the story is: they all lived halpilly ever after. What a lovely story! A tear mover! Worth cinematic considerations. Peace to all.

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  8. I see your PR company is hard at work again, good old Breen! She must be constantly looking of good news about you to tell, what a job!

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    1. Suzanne is a good journalist with integrity.

      If she had to write a negative story about me she would.

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  9. Just wondering if these modern loyalists appreciated the difference between you and current RC Clergy

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    1. They did. We talked about all that.

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    2. And what did they think of the R. Catholic clergy of today? Any enlightenment or are views still deeply entrenched?

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  10. Sean, do you ever come back to Sligo?
    Is it your home town?

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  11. My home town is Castlerea in Roscommon. Not been back for a while primarily due to economics and the value of the £. Clarice and I have a horse. Hope to return for a visit when the pennies are right. Many fond memories of Sligo and Castlerea

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  12. Did you dine anywhere nice yesterday, Pat ?
    It’s a long time since I dined in Belfast, at least a year.
    Crown bar is my favourite.

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  13. Pat are you gonna do a blog about the priest and the wealthy widow by Colm Keena in the irishtimes today?

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  14. It's good you salvaged the old street signs. Now can we please have some juicy scandal about those naughty pulpit pooves.

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    1. 17.27. Obviously, your brain can't absorb anything intelligent or meaningful if all you want is so called scandal. I suggest you should take your head out of your underpants and have a good look at yourself in the mirror. Yoh seem like a brainless twit.

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    2. So called scandal? I am sure +Pat will have the means to put scandalised readers' minds at rest.

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  15. Did you read in irish news about down and connor publishing their finances . It's hardly the church of the poor ! No doubt bishop noel will be helping his flock who are on benefits when the new system kicks in and they have to wait up to 6 wks for payment . Ile not hold my breath on that one !

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  16. Pat - you're a top man. Peace to all.

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  17. (((Pat))) you are my hero

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  18. Just noticed,Pat, you ain’t telling us all the craic.
    Soup my hat.

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  19. Great to see you again last week Pat and hope it's not the last time we see you on the Shankill, it's a pity the BBC didn't run what they had recorded last week.
    Steven

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