Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

It would drive you up the wall...the confused picture being painted over future of Belfast mural

The mural before...
The mural before...
...and after
...and after

The question of whether Belfast's famous Teenage Kicks graffiti artwork will ever appear in public again is still uncertain.

Despite reports yesterday that the popular Bridge End tribute to veteran broadcaster John Peel was going to be repainted, the final decision of what may appear is yet to be made by community representatives in the Short Strand and Newtownards Road areas of the city.

While no authority wanted to accept responsibility for its overnight disappearance after a Twitter storm of protest erupted in June, no one is willing to definitely say that it is to be replaced.

The mural is believed to have been painted by the TDS graffiti team on a commission from punk impresario Terri Hooley of Good Vibrations, who introduced The Undertones to John Peel, who then famously launched the career of the Londonderry punk band.

The mural featuring the line – 'Teenage dreams so hard to beat' – is from The Undertones's famous hit Teenage Kicks, a song that the music broadcaster was so enamoured with that he first played it back-to-back on his influential show.

It's thought that former Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O Donnaghaile sparked hopes that the mural – which was later painted inside the Limelight Bar – would be soon visible again after attending a restricted meeting of Belfast City Council's development committee.

His tweet – Good news @ Dev Committee tonight re "Teenage Kicks" mural & potential for working with local kids from Strand & N/Ards Rd #WatchThisSpace – set the hearts of old punks and motorists racing in the hope that the city's least contentious mural would soon be reinstated. But neither Belfast City Council or the Department for Social Development – which is consulting on a £300,000 public realm scheme with East Belfast Partnership and the Ballymac Friendship Trust representing the area – could confirm that the Teenage Kicks mural would definitely be repainted.

A DSD spokesman said: "Community representatives from the area are working with the department to develop a proposal to bring together teenagers from the Short Strand and Newtownards Road area to design alternative community art work in this location. The department has funded similar schemes in other locations and does not foresee any issue with an agreed new community mural, subject to consultation with DRD Roads Service who own the wall."

A spokesman for Belfast City Council confirmed that possible funding for a "complementary" project for the DSD public realm scheme was discussed at the restricted meeting.

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