THE MISS-FITTS

Geraldine Fitt looks out the window in the family home on the Antrim Road Photo in: The Irish Universe July 1973

Geraldine Fitt looks out the window in the family home on the Antrim Road Photo in: The Irish Universe July 1973

The late MP for West Belfast and SDLP founder member Gerry Fitt jokingly referred to his five daughters as the ‘Miss Fitts’. Lord Fitt died in August 2005 aged 79. The picture is of one of his daughters, Geraldine, at the family home at 85 Antrim Road in North Belfast looking out through a window covered with a security grill. The picture appears on page 11 of The Irish Universe of Friday July 3rd 1973, the same one featured in yesterday’s blog on ‘Ulster’s Greatest Chance’.

'Justin' Column in The Irish Universe July 1973  Photo: Michael Fisher

‘Justin’ Column in The Irish Universe July 1973 Photo: Michael Fisher

“MOST moving press picture of the week: pretty young girl, chin on folded hands, behind a mesh of iron and steel: She’s Geraldine Fitt, daughter of Mr. Gerry Fitt, the S.D.L.P. leader, gazing through the protective screen at their house on the Antrim Road, Belfast West (sic.). Before the days of violence, Mr. Fitt’s daughters sometimes accompanied him to meetings, and people said, ‘Here comes the new group: Gerry and the Miss-Fitts'”.  Justin, The Irish Universe, Friday July 6th 1973.

There is no photographer’s name on the picture but it could have been one issued through a news agency as it turned up in other newspapers including some in the United States. A similar photo appears in the Lakeland Ledger (Florida) on July 2nd 1973 under the heading ‘BARRICADED WORLD’:

‘From her window in Antrim Road, 11-year-old Geraldine Fitt views the outside world — through a steel-mesh barricade. After the assassination of Paddy Wilson, her father’s agent and an Ulster (sic.) senator, William Whitelaw ordered a full security net for Fitt’s house in Belfast, Northern Ireland, gives protection against anything except bullets’.

Gerry Fitt and his family were forced to leave their fortress home on the Antrim Road and move to London in July 1983 after it was attacked by republicans. He had lost his seat to Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin at the Westminster election the previous month and was created a peer in the House of Lords. A biography written by journalist and commentator Chris Ryder was published by Brehon Press in 2006: ‘Fighting Fitt’.

'Fighting Fitt' by Chris Ryder: Brehon Press (2006)

‘Fighting Fitt’ by Chris Ryder: Brehon Press (2006)

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