Divis Tower

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Coordinates: 54°36′00″N 5°56′32″W / 54.6000°N 5.9422°W / 54.6000; -5.9422

Divis Tower, Belfast, 2004

Divis Tower is a 61-metre (200 ft) tall tower in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 20 floors tall, it was built in 1966 as part of the now-demolished Divis Flats complex. It is named after the nearby Divis Mountain. The complex of 850 flats, housing 2,400 residents was designed by architect Frank Robertson for the Northern Ireland Housing Trust.[1]

Due to Provisional IRA activity in the area, the British Army constructed an observation post on the roof in the 1970s and occupied the top two floors of the building. At the height of the Troubles, the Army was only able to access the post by helicopter.[2]

Divis Tower was a flashpoint area during the height of the Troubles. Nine-year-old Patrick Rooney, the first child killed in the Troubles, was killed in the tower during the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969, when the RUC fired a Browning machine gun from its Shorland armoured car into the flats.[3] The RUC claimed that it was coming under sniper attack from the tower at the time. Patrick Rooney's death took place during a day of street violence in the area. Chairman of the enquiry into the riots, Mr Justice Scarman, found the use of the Browning machine gun "wholly unjustifiable".[4]

On 12th May 1981, an Army sniper killed INLA member Emmanuel McClarnon from the top of Divis Tower on the night that Francis Hughes died on hunger strike.[5]

Following the IRA's statement that it was ending its armed campaign, the Army decided to dismantle the observation post. Dubbed a 'spy' post by Sinn Féin, removal of the observation post commenced on 2 August 2005.[6] In 2009 the top two floors of the tower floors were reinstated as residential properties. As part of a £1.1 million refurbishment programme by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive 8 extra flats were provided.[2]

Divis Tower rises near the interface between Falls Road and Shankill Road. It is currently the sixth tallest building in Belfast.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A towering mistake?". Belfast: Belfast Telegraph. 
  2. ^ a b "Former Army post at Divis Tower gets £1m transformation". Belfast: Belfast Telegraph. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Sutton, Malcolm (2013). "An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland 1969". Conflict Archive on the Internet, University of Ulster. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Scarman, Justice (1972). "Violence and Civil Disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969 - Report of Tribunal of Inquiry [3.7 (4)]". Conflict Archive on the Internet, University of Ulster. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Sutton, Malcolm (2013). "An Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland 1981". Conflict Archive on the Internet, University of Ulster. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Army begins removing Divis post". BBC News (London: BBC). 2 August 2005. Retrieved 9 August 2013.