Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill depicted as Pinky and the Brain in Belfast mural

The mural being painted on the peace line at Northumberland Street, Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Brendan Hughes

IAN Paisley and Martin McGuinness were memorably dubbed the 'Chuckle Brothers', but their Stormont successors may now have a kids' TV double-act nickname of their own – courtesy of a new mural.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill have been depicted in a new west Belfast mural as cartoon lab mice Pinky and the Brain.

The plucky duo, from the 1990s Warner Bros series Animaniacs, were known for devising a new plan each episode to take over the world which ultimately ended in failure.

In the mural, they are shown being held by British prime minister Theresa May, who is portrayed as Elmyra Duff – a girl who loves pets from another Warner Bros series, Tiny Toon Adventures.

All three characters featured in a spin-off series – Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain – in which Pinky and the Brain were owned by Elmyra and lived in her home.

Artist Mark Ervine, who helped paint the mural in recent days along the peace line at Northumberland Street, said it was designed by a 14-year-old girl.

He described the Brexit-related mural as a "humorous yet pointed look at where we are".

"There is a comedy factor to it. We wanted to not make it too heavy with all the heavy stuff that's surrounding all these issues," the 46-year-old said.

"We weren't trying to come down on the side of republicans or loyalists, or remain or go.

"We were fundamentally pointing out the failure of the leadership that we have."

Northern Ireland has not had a power-sharing government since the DUP and Sinn Féin-led executive fell apart in early 2017 in the wake of the RHI scandal.

The mural being painted on the peace line at Northumberland Street, Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

Both parties insist they want devolution restored, but disagree over issues including same-sex marriage and an Irish language act.

At Westminster, MPs have twice rejected Mrs May's deal on leaving the EU and have voted to seize control of the parliamentary timetable in a bid to end the Brexit deadlock.

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