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A Republican mural in West Belfast. 2009

A Republican mural in West Belfast. 2009

UDA wall mural in the Shankill Road area.8/9/09

UDA wall mural in the Shankill Road area.8/9/09

Wall mural Newtownards Road, Belfast, 1992

Wall mural Newtownards Road, Belfast, 1992

A UVF wall mural in the mount vernon area of North Belfast.8/1/09

A UVF wall mural in the mount vernon area of North Belfast.8/1/09

A protestant loyalist mural in the Shankhill area of Belfast on March 14, 2009.

A protestant loyalist mural in the Shankhill area of Belfast on March 14, 2009.

Jeff J Mitchell

A Republican mural is seen on the side of a house in the Bogside are of Derry, the scene of the 'Bloody Sunday' shootings. 2005

A Republican mural is seen on the side of a house in the Bogside are of Derry, the scene of the 'Bloody Sunday' shootings. 2005

Christopher Furlong

UVF mural at Ballybeen.

UVF mural at Ballybeen.

Ian Magill.

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) wall mural in north Belfast.  2007

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) wall mural in north Belfast. 2007

Paul Faith

Republican mural in West Belfast. 1998

Republican mural in West Belfast. 1998

A loyalist mural in the Shankhill area on March 14, 2009 in Belfast

A loyalist mural in the Shankhill area on March 14, 2009 in Belfast

Jeff J Mitchell

A republican mural in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast on March 14, 2009

A republican mural in the Ballymurphy estate in Belfast on March 14, 2009

Jeff J Mitchell

A loyalist mural in the Shankhill area of Belfast on March 14, 2009

A loyalist mural in the Shankhill area of Belfast on March 14, 2009

Jeff J Mitchell

A republican mural off the Falls road area of Belfast on March 14, 2009

A republican mural off the Falls road area of Belfast on March 14, 2009

Jeff J Mitchell

The Bobby Sands mural, in the Falls Road area of Belfast

The Bobby Sands mural, in the Falls Road area of Belfast

Jeff J Mitchell

Belfast murals.  A football mural on the Albert Bridge Road in east Belfast celebrating Northern Ireland's win over England in 2005.

Belfast murals. A football mural on the Albert Bridge Road in east Belfast celebrating Northern Ireland's win over England in 2005.

Belfast murals.  A peace mural on the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Belfast murals. A peace mural on the lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Belfast murals.  A George Best mural on the Woodstock Road in east Belfast.

Belfast murals. A George Best mural on the Woodstock Road in east Belfast.

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.

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.

Alan Lewis

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.

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.

Alan Lewis

Northern Ireland Football Heroes Mural

Northern Ireland Football Heroes Mural

INLA wall mural

INLA wall mural

Artist Daniela Balmaverde with her  mural in the Alliance Parade area of Belfast

Artist Daniela Balmaverde with her mural in the Alliance Parade area of Belfast

Bernadette McAliskey as portrayed in a mural on the side of a house in the Bogside area of Londonderry

Bernadette McAliskey as portrayed in a mural on the side of a house in the Bogside area of Londonderry

Republican mural

Republican mural

Alan Lewis

The new murals, designed to chart the social, cultural and industrial heritage of the lower Shankill

The new murals, designed to chart the social, cultural and industrial heritage of the lower Shankill

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

PETER MORRISON

A mural at the top of the Whiterock Road

A mural at the top of the Whiterock Road

Free Derry Corner, which was dramatically covered by a mural on Saturday to mark the city’s annual Gasyard Feile

Free Derry Corner, which was dramatically covered by a mural on Saturday to mark the city’s annual Gasyard Feile

Writing on the wall for weapons: A woman walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural in Belfast

Writing on the wall for weapons: A woman walks past a loyalist paramilitary mural in Belfast

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A Republican mural in West Belfast. 2009

The writing could be on the wall for Northern Ireland’s world famous murals after politicians said it could be time to have them whitewashed.

As the Belfast Telegraph revealed yesterday there appears to be growing support for the landmark paintings and drawings to be replaced by non-political messages.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley, who sits on the culture, arts and leisure committee at Stormont, said many murals were displayed without community support.

“I think it’s time we removed all aspects of paramilitarism from society, and that includes murals,” he said.

“Many of these murals were foisted on communities whether they wanted them or liked them, and do not reflect the views of local people. While there may be some artistic merit in them, it’s time that these areas were unbranded and the murals removed.”

Mr Bradley believes they should be replaced with non-political images reflecting Northern Ireland’s culture.

UUP MLA Ken Robinson, who also sits on the committee, said the murals’ relevance had declined in recent years.

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“We are seeing these murals phased out and I think it represents the times we live in,” he said. “Soon there will be no place for them other than as a historical record. However, you have to remember that 30 years of our history is encapsulated in some of these murals, regardless of what you think about the content.”

Last summer the Lower Shankill Community Association was involved in a project to replace 10 paramilitary murals with new images of culture and heritage. The Association’s Ian McLaughlin said there had been a positive feedback from the community.

He said: “It was a community-driven initiative and among the replacement murals were boxers from a bygone era and an A to Z of the greater Shankill area. None of the new murals have been damaged or attacked.”


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