Derry Somme mural reinstated after vandals ripped it down
A Battle of the Somme mural - which had been ripped off a wall in Londonderry's Fountain Estate and destroyed by vandals last year - was yesterday replaced by a replica several times the size of the original.
In November, the destruction of the large mounted mural paying tribute to those lost in the First World War, which had been situated on the railings outside the Fountain's Cathedral Youth Club, was treated as a hate crime by police.
Yesterday an identical artwork to the ruined mural was unveiled on the gable wall of the youth club.
DUP councillor and former soldier Graham Warke said he was proud to see the mural back where it belonged.
"Back in November the community here were rightly outraged by an act of vandalism," he said.
"This mural was put up to remember all the men from our city who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the Somme.
"It beggared belief that some insensitive idiot would rip it down.
"We were disgusted and devastated by that act.
"Seeing it back up is a proud moment for me and for the young people of this community," the councillor added.
"Now it's back up and it's bigger and it will stay there for many more years.
"It will teach young people the history of what happened and how it was both sides of the religious divide who left this city to fight in France."
Church of Ireland Dean of Derry Raymond Stewart was on hand to welcome the reinstated mural and said that he hoped "it would be able to stay".
The Housing Executive supported the Cathedral Youth Club in getting the mural back up on the wall.
The Housing Executive's Eddie Doherty was at the Fountain Youth Club for the unveiling and said it was important to have cultural identities back where they should be.
"The Housing Executive is involved in a wide range of community projects throughout the city," he said.
"And we were bitterly disappointed to hear that the memorial mural here had been destroyed.
"We were very keen to engage again with members of the Fountain community and to get this reinstalled.
"Because we know it's important for us, but it is also so important for the community to have these cultural identities installed back in the way that they should be."