Belfast Telegraph

Storm-hit memorial to PUP's David Ervine will be replaced

By Claire McNeilly

A memorial to the late PUP leader David Ervine will be replaced after the original became a victim of Storm Ophelia.

The memorial, belonging to the Inner East Youth project, was on the gable wall of a building on Belfast's Albertbridge Road badly damaged by the storm in October and which has now been demolished.

Earlier this year there was a service at the memorial to mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of Mr Ervine, a UVF terrorist turned peacemaker who died in 2007 aged 57.

Storm Ophelia caused havoc across Northern Ireland two months ago, leading to widespread school closures and significant power cuts.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Ervine's widow Jeanette said she understood the mural had been temporarily removed for safety reasons.

"The wall was damaged during the storm and the mural had to be taken down to protect it," she said.

"I'm happy to hear that it will be put up again. The mural gave me a great sense of pride during the difficult times after I lost David.

"It was great that he was recognised for the work that he put in and it felt good for me to know that he was so well thought of by so many people."

The mother-of-two said it was still hard to get used to life without her husband, who died suddenly in January 2007.

Jailed after being caught transporting a bomb, he went on to become a Stormont MLA and Progressive Unionist Party leader.

"It's still awfully hard," she said.

"You just miss that special person; your life is not the same and it can be very lonely.

"He was so young and we had so much more we wanted to do with our lives."

PUP councillor John Kyle confirmed the building was demolished as a result of the storm and rehoming the memorial in the near future was very much on the agenda.

"Both the owner and the building contractor have been really co-operative; we're currently working out the best way forward," he said.

He also said they will take this opportunity to assess the condition of the mural, which "has been there for some years and may need to be touched up or completely redrawn".

And he added that the chair and boots which formed part of the Montrose Street South memorial to Mr Ervine were both in excellent condition and currently in storage.

"The plan is to put the mural back up, either in the same place or to look for another site in the same locality," he said.

"We're having conversations with people to see if perhaps there's a better location, but it will be re-erected somewhere similar if not there.

"It's within a stone's throw of where David was born and grew up. We wouldn't move it away from the general area."

Earlier this year a man appeared in court accused of an attack on the memorial after targeting the chair on Remembrance Sunday last year.

He was charged with either intentionally or recklessly causing criminal damage to the monument during an incident on November 13.

Belfast Telegraph

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