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04/07/2014

West Belfast Mural Condemned

A paramilitary mural in west Belfast that shows gunmen firing shots over a coffin draped in an Irish tricolour has been condemned.

The image has appeared at Slemish Way off the Andersonstown Road.

SDLP West Belfast Councillor Tim Attwood said: "The SDLP believes it is now time we all advanced healing and national reconciliation by moving away from promoting violent images of the past. There are too many murals in West Belfast which highlight armed men and violence. It is time we re-imaged 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 Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister added: "There can be no place for images of paramilitary gunmen in our society. I am opposed to any mural or image which would seek to glorify terrorism.

"This mural must be replaced. This is not the sort of image that Northern Ireland should be portraying and is counter-productive as we seek to promote a shared future. 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."

The DUP's Gregory Campbell said the mural was "a glorification of terrorism and an attempt to drag Northern Ireland backwards. There is no place for such glorification, whether in a mural such as this or in a speech delivered by republican elected representatives.

"This mural must be condemned by representatives from all sides, and agreement that terrorism has never been justified. It is important that no distinction is drawn between those who engage in violence and terror today and those who may have used such tactics in the past."

(IT/CD)

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