Belfast Telegraph

Civil rights stalwarts John Hume and Ivan Cooper celebrated in new Derry mural

By Donna Deeney

Two stalwarts of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland have been immortalised in a mural by the award-winning Bogside Artists.

Both Nobel Laureate John Hume and Ivan Cooper were present at the unveiling of the updated Civil Rights Mural on a gable wall in Glenfada Park in Londonderry.

The mural is one of seven that compile the 'People's Gallery' by the Bogside Artists and which attract thousands of tourists every year.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ivan Cooper said he was honoured to be included.

He said: "I am an old man now but I am still so very proud of what the Civil Rights movement achieved, not just in Ireland but across the world.

"I am most proud of the fact that our achievement came through non-violence and this mural will teach today's generation a lesson that your goals can be reached without the use of bombs or bullets."

John Hume, who went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, added: "The Civil Rights movement in Derry in 1968 had people from all walks of life and all traditions and was totally anti-sectarian and non-violent.

"I am delighted to be here to see the refreshed mural, which the Bogside Artists have completed, which honours all those who were active in these marches.

"I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to them and to all those who worked tirelessly to make this happen. I hope the People's Gallery goes from strength to strength."

Tom Kelly, one of the Bogside Artists who restores and maintains the murals, said this particular mural told a very important chapter in the history of Derry.

He said: "The People's Gallery tells our history in a non-sectarian way and the story of the Civil Rights movement was a key chapter and shows the courage of people like John Hume and Ivan Cooper who stepped beyond the political quagmire that existed at the time.

"We would like to thank the Housing Executive who have supported us consistently since we set up the People's Galley."

The restoration of the mural was funded by the Housing Executive who have also covered the cost of repair of the six others.

Housing Executive area manager West, Avril McAllister explained the organisation's role, saying: "Fostering good relations is an intrinsic part of the Housing Executive's commitment to local communities and we hope that the mural will be enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike.

"Earlier this year, the Housing Executive began consulting with residents living in the Bogside and the Fountain/Bishop Street areas about creating a more inclusive community with regeneration and community development at its heart."

Belfast Telegraph


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