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Fury at new Belfast mural of UDA mass murderer Stephen McKeag

NIHE has no plans to take down tribute to terrorist

By Rebecca Black

Published 22/09/2016

The new mural, honouring UDA gunman Stephen McKeag, in the lower Shankill area
The new mural, honouring UDA gunman Stephen McKeag, in the lower Shankill area
The sabotaged mural of former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers on the International Peace Wall in west Belfast
Murals down the years ... former IRA sniper and Sinn Fein politician Martin Meehan aiming a rifle
Murals down the years ... The Shankill Star Flute Band in Belfast carries a Lambeg drum dedicated to the memory of Brian Robinson, a UVF terrorist who shot Paddy McKenna dead at Ardoyne in 1989
Murals down the years ... A huge UFF mural was beamed to the world as cyclists passed it during May's Giro d'Italia
Republican mural depicting former north Belfast IRA man Martin Meehan is revealed in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.
Republican mural depicting former north Belfast IRA leader Martin Meehan revealed in the Ardoyne area of Belfast
UVF mural is being painted in Willowfield
The UVF mural painted over one of George Best at Inverwood Court in east Belfast
Going back: The absurd psychology of paramilitarism fixating on UVF gunmen and Bobby Sands instead of icons like George Best, shows their mawkish self-mythologising
A mural at Free Derry Corner depicting the events of Bloody Sunday.
Residents gathered to watch the unveiling of the new mural opposite the Catholic church in Harryville, Ballymena, County Antrim. The old loyalist paramilitary mural close to a Catholic church which was the scene of weekly protests in the 1990s was removed at the weekend. It was replaced by an Ulster Scots mural featuring symbols such as a shamrock and Red Hand of Ulster. 2/4/06
Bobby Sands
Fading Memories. A mural of David Healy at Carnforth Street, east Belfast
A project recording experiences of key figures from the Troubles and the peace process has been launched
File photo dated 03/05/07 of a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) wall mural in north Belfast.
The mural by artist Ross Wilson celebrating King Williams 1690 battle with King James replaces a UFF mural on a gabel wall on Linfield Avenue Sandy Row.
The Civil Rights mural in the Bogside.
Parade commemorating Brian Robinson - Shankill Road, Belfast
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One of the mural, "Bernadette" in the Bogside. Supplied Picture
A Loyalist mural on the Newtownards road in Belfast
A Thomas Devlin murder appeal poster beside a UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) mural in the Mount Vernon area of North Belfast opposite the flats where one of his killers had lived.
UDA wall mural in the Shankill Road area.8/9/09
Healy among the greats at Windsor Park
Belfast murals. A mural off the Newtownards Road dedicated to 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' author C.S Lewis who was from the area. 2010.
Republican mural in West Belfast. 1998
A republican mural in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast on March 14, 2009
A loyalist mural in the Shankhill area of Belfast on March 14, 2009
A republican mural off the Falls road area of Belfast on March 14, 2009
YCV paramilitary mural in the Village, Belfast

Calls have been made for a new mural honouring one of the most notorious terrorists of the Troubles to be removed from a Housing Executive property.

The painting of UDA gunman Stephen McKeag has appeared on a lower Shankill gable wall - but the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) said it has no plans to immediately remove it.

The mural in Hopewell Crescent depicts McKeag wearing a beret amid a blue sky background with the words 'Remember With Pride'.

McKeag, nicknamed Top Gun, was associated with at least 12 murders before he died of a drug overdose in 2000. The new mural replaces a previous one which featured a smaller image of McKeag.

An NIHE spokesman confirmed the mural is on its property and that it had not given permission for it to be painted, nor for a small wall enclosing a memorial garden to be built.

A community activist told the Belfast Telegraph that McKeag's family are behind the redone memorial, adding: "The mural has been there for 15 years, it is difficult to see why objections are being raised now." He also said he is not aware of the NIHE having approached the family about the mural.

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said the NIHE should examine its policy on paramilitary murals.

"The NIHE and other agencies have put money into reimagining such murals across Northern Ireland, and I really think that should be the direction of travel rather than promoting violent images of the past," he said.

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown said the NIHE should address the matter.

"NIHE have a responsibility to the communities they serve to avoid glorifying paramilitaries," he said.

Murals down the years ... republican mural depicting former north Belfast IRA man Martin Meehan is revealed in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.
Murals down the years ... republican mural depicting former north Belfast IRA man Martin Meehan is revealed in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.
Republican mural depicting former north Belfast IRA leader Martin Meehan revealed in the Ardoyne area of Belfast
A new UVF mural is being painted in Willowfield
The UVF mural painted over one of George Best at Inverwood Court in east Belfast
Going back: The absurd psychology of paramilitarism fixating on UVF gunmen and Bobby Sands instead of icons like George Best, shows their mawkish self-mythologising
A mural at Free Derry Corner depicting the events of Bloody Sunday.
Residents gathered to watch the unveiling of the new mural opposite the Catholic church in Harryville, Ballymena, County Antrim. The old loyalist paramilitary mural close to a Catholic church which was the scene of weekly protests in the 1990s was removed at the weekend. It was replaced by an Ulster Scots mural featuring symbols such as a shamrock and Red Hand of Ulster. 2/4/06

"It's a part of our history we should address constructively instead of eulogising it."

An NIHE spokesperson said: "A number of weeks ago we were informed that work was to be undertaken by a family to tidy up a mural and associated surroundings at Hopewell Crescent.

"On Tuesday, we were made aware that the mural on a gable wall had been replaced and that a wall has been built on adjacent land.

"In a post conflict society, issues, such as these, present a challenge for the whole of society.

"We will continue to discuss and engage with others and with local communities to find a resolution to such issues."

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