‘Direct action’ after mural is painted over


A Housing Executive van has been burned out after it removed a republican mural a wall in the Ligoniel area of north Belfast.

A similar mural was removed from the same wall by Belfast City Council in recent weeks. It is understood the original mural focused on prisoners in Maghaberry jail. The mural removed yesterday called for an end to British internment of Irish republicans.

It also highlighted the justice campaign for County Armagh men John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville.

Political wall murals are common in nationalist and loyalist areas of Belfast and authorities rarely attempt to remove them.

The two men who seized the van said they were acting in response to a decision to paint over the new mural. They told the worker that newly painted wall murals in the area were not to be touched in future.

Local republican Martin Meehan said permission had been sought and received for the mural, which he described as “professional” and “respectful”. He claimed it had been removed at Sinn Fein’s request, and described its removal as “censorship”.

Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Gerard McCabe condemned the attack. “Workers should be able to go about their business without fear of attack of intimidation,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive said the mural had been removed “in consultation and with the consent” of the community. It said it had now removed its “maintenance service” from the Ardoyne and Ligoniel areas.


In recent months, local government water workers have also been threatened and their vehicles attacked in republican areas of Belfast. Oglaigh na hEireann were reported to have told contractors with the government-owned ‘NI Water’ to leave areas in west Belfast.

Masked men told a group of workers to leave the Iveagh Street area of the Falls Road on Tuesday while a second group of workers was also ordered from the district in Ballymurphy.

The company said its workers were told to leave the Glen Crescent district of west Belfast and that if they returned, they would be “blown up”. The workmen were in the area to install new equipment to which water metres can be fitted.

Sinn Fein’s Caral Ni Chuilin said there had been a similar incident in north Belfast. She condemned the threats.

“The contractor in this case has been working with the local community to minimise disruption during work to improve water pressure and the quality of the water supply,” she said.

The latest incidents come just months after Oglaigh na hEireann ordered water contractors to leave Ardoyne and torched their lorry. At the time the group said it would “not permit the installation of water meters” and was intending to take further action.


Also this week, Oglaigh na hEireann ordered a man to leave the Bawnmore district of north Belfast. In a leaflet distributed in the area the man was accused of being involved in “anti-community activities including the supplying of illicit drugs”.

He was also accused of being in the company of known loyalists and was given 48 hours to leave the greater Belfast area. The group warned that if he did not comply it would take military action.

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