Belts and Boots to Bombs and Bullets

Yesterday evening some members attended the “Belts and Boots to Bombs and Bullets” event hosted by Gareth Mulvenna – Researcher & Author and Beano Niblock in a packed Ballymac Friendship Centre.






Using inserts from Gareth’s book ‘Tartan Gangs and Paramilitaries – The Loyalist Backlash’ and poems written by Robert, the event examined the origins and rise of the Tartan gangs in Belfast and their transformation into loyalist Paramilitaries and Robert “Beano” Niblocks perspective being a young man who went from being a member of the Woodstock Tartan to a member of the Red Hand Commando in July 1972 and the violent era surrounding it.






The event also included an impressive scene by John Travers reprising his role as TC from the 2014 production “Tartan”, which brings to life the story of alot of young mens hasty transition to manhood.

The question and answer section of the event highlighted the importance of telling our own story be it through, books, poems or art. Something that struck a chord was when it was stated every story has goodies and baddies and working class Loyalists are unfairly being depicted as the baddies. The Republican narrative through the years is if you tell a lie so much, it becomes reality. It isn’t about glorifying events, its about documenting them for future generations. It was also pointed out that media biases towards Loyalism does not help with anyone remotely trying to tell their story being lambasted with untruths forcing people to withdraw from engaging.





A very enjoyable event and hopefully something that will be built upon.