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Stiff Little Fingers back blue plaque campaign for legendary punk rock venue

Jake Burns (front) of the Stiff Little Fingers has endorsed a campaign for a blue plaque to be placed at the site of punk-rock venue Trident in Bangor, made famous in the song 'Alternative Ulster'
Gareth McKeown

A PROPOSAL to commemorate a historic punk venue made famous by Belfast band Stiff Little Fingers has received backing from its frontman.

An online campaign has been launched to erect a blue plaque at the building formerly known as the Trident in Bangor, Co Down, referenced in the band's 1978 hit 'Alternative Ulster'.

After a initial request was turned down it is hoped that with the help of Jake Burns the decision can be overturned.

“I think it's only reasonable that one of the bright spots in a fairly dark time in Northern Ireland's history should be commemorated," Jake said of the venue where the band played their first gig.

"We're all too willing to put up reminders of things that divided us, so surely it's only right that something that helped bring young people together should be celebrated as well.”

Amateur punk historian Dee Wilson first came up with the proposal for the bar - now home to Wolsey's Bar - to celebrate the part the punk scene played in uniting Catholic and Protestant youths during The Troubles in 1970s.

However the proposal has been rejected by the Ulster History Circle who say they only commemorate individuals of achievement.

“The Ulster History Circle say they do not celebrate buildings, although a blue plaque was placed at the spot of the Maritime hotel. This plaque clearly celebrates a building, that is no longer standing, as well as an era. It's middle-class snobbery and elitism to ignore the contribution of punk here," Mr Wilson said.

The Ulster History Circle has said that since 2014 it has changed its policy and now "only erects plaques to people of achievement, who are either 20 years deceased, or if more recently deceased, would have passed the date of their 100th birthday".

"The Circle is happy to support the proposal for a commemoration of punk at the former Trident Bar, but this cannot be by a Circle plaque. Mr Wilson might therefore be encouraged to seek support for an alternative plaque to honour the anniversary of Alternative Ulster and the proud history of punk," they said.

To sign the online petition visit: www.causes.com/campaigns/106115-erect-a-blue-plaque-at-wolseys-bar-bangor-county-down?

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