Hunger striker mural 'should be replaced with positive image'

Mural The mural depicts the funeral of IRA hunger striker Kieran Doherty in 1981

Murals in west Belfast that depict violence from the past should be replaced with more positive images, an SDLP councillor has said.

Tim Attwood was speaking after a mural featuring IRA gunmen was painted at Slemish Way, off Andersonstown Road.

It depicts the funeral of Kieran Doherty, who died while on hunger strike at the Maze Prison in 1981.

Mr Attwood said: "There are too many murals in west Belfast which highlight armed men and violence."

Mural The murals have been painted at Slemish Way

He added: "It is time we reimaged west Belfast by promoting colourful positive sporting, cultural and community images.

"It is important there is a consistent message from all parties condemning murals which promote armed men, or paramilitary organisations, whether it is in east Belfast or west Belfast."

Alliance councillor Nuala McAllister said there was "no place for images of paramilitary gunmen in our society".

"This is not the sort of image that Northern Ireland should be portraying, and it is counterproductive as we seek to promote a shared future," she said.

"As we attempt to move our society forward, this task is made more difficult by those who seek to demarcate territory through the use of paramilitary murals."

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said it was "a glorification of terrorism and an attempt to drag Northern Ireland backwards".

"This mural must be condemned by representatives from all sides, and agreement that terrorism has never been justified," he said.

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