Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -28th November 2015 Nine paramilitary murals in East Belfast have been removed and redesigned with the support of the local community. DRD Minister Melvyn Storey is pictured with local politicians including DUP MP for east Belfast Gavin Robinson, members of the local community, the artists Glenn Black and Ken Maze from Blaze FX, Gareth Beacom and David Stitt from Charter NI and Junior Giants Bradley Scott(11) and Kaitlyn Morrison(12). Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The reimaged murals depict the story of life in the Lord Street area of East Belfast and include the positive influences of the Belfast Giants and Ledley Hall, where a youth club has been operating since 1943.

Charter NI, an independent think tank, which studies the causes of conflict at a community level in Northern Ireland, led on the reimaging project, having secured funding from the Housing Executive’s Cohesion team.

Dee Stitt, Chief Executive of Charter NI, said the reimaging work will play a crucial role in his organisation’s work to “enable, equip and empower disconnected communities across Belfast.”

“The reimaged murals signal a step forward for the local community and they bring to fruition the positive results of many years of dialogue and conversation. They tell the story of the past but they also pave the way for the future with young people having been involved in every step of the process.”

Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey MLA said:

“I would like to congratulate Charter NI, the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council for their foresight in delivering this project.  I know that the unveiling of these murals brings to fruition the positive results of many years of consultation with the local community.  I know too that the murals project is just one element of wider regeneration work for this area.  The partnership working to bring about this change is commendable and is all about moving forward and changing the hearts and minds.  Indeed the unveiling of the murals today does not mark the end of work in this area, but a step forward in its renewal.”


Deirdre Crawford, Housing Executive Cohesion Manager, said:

“The Housing Executive works to support local communities remove the outward symbols of sectarianism through the medium of art.

“This is a significant project in this area and is part of a wider process, which has been taking place for several years, to change hearts and minds. It is about moving forward and embracing peace.”


Gary Ballantyne, the Housing Executive’s South and East Belfast Area Manager, said:

“A project, known as the Diamond Project, has been set up by Belfast City Council to try to engage with a community that has been disengaged from organisations, including our own.

“We are delighted to be involved in the reimaging project as part of that work. Already through the Diamond Project several ground maintenance schemes have been completed and we are considering the future physical regeneration of the area at Constance Street.”