A DEFIANT singer from Trillick is back busking on the streets of Belfast, just one day after a video image of him being attacked by a passer-by went viral on social media.
In the shocking footage, John Garrity can be seen singing ‘Grace’, a famous ballad about Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett who was executed for playing a role in the 1916 Easter Rising, in his regular spot on Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre.
During the short clip, a woman approaches him and starts verbally abusing John, before kicking out at his equipment and money bucket.
The footage was uploaded on social media and quickly went viral.
Some users have claimed that, as she left the scene, the woman shouted “Up the UDA”.
Reacting to the attack on his Facebook page on Saturday, Mr Garrity said, “I was attacked during Belfast Busking Festival for singing ‘Grace’…
It’s part of our history which can’t be unwritten. I have respect for everyone. Even if we all don’t agree on the past there is no excuse for this.”
Thanking people for their support, he added, “Buskers bring people into the city centre and it’s people like this woman who put visitors off. Since I’ve started singing this song, I’ve received overwhelming support and I will continue to sing it. Despite the efforts of some, times are changing and Belfast is changing.”
Just 24 hours after the incident, Mr Garrity, who has been living and performing in Belfast for the last year, was back in his usual spot on Royal Avenue for another busking session. In a further post on his Facebook page yesterday, the Trillick man uploaded a picture of him with his guitar, speaker and money bucket standing behind some metal railings.
He stated, “Massive thank you to Belfast City Council for supplying me with crowd protection railing for today’s busking session!!”
Speaking to the Tyrone Herald yesterday evening, the talented musician said that, while the incident had been “totally unacceptable”, he just wanted to move forward and forget about it.
He said, “There has been talk that the woman had mental health problems and mental health is a massive problem in Belfast. But, at the same
time, it doesn’t give you the green light to break the law.
“She shouldn’t have done what she did. However, I think the best way for me to move forward is to forget about it.”
Mr Garrity said that, instead, he will be concentrating on his music and is focused on an upcoming tour of the UK this summer.
A still image of the attack is below.