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West Belfast mural row erupts over plans for destruction

A row has erupted in west Belfast over plans to paint a mural in support of republican and Palestinian prisoners. Picture by Matt Bohill..
Connla Young

A WEST Belfast tourist attraction is at the centre of a fresh row after a prisoner group claimed that a planned wall mural has been threatened with destruction.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association claimed on Tuesday night that members have been told that the proposed painting at the International Wall on the Falls Road will be defaced if it goes ahead.

It is the latest in a series of rows to erupt at the wall, which has become a must-see tourist attraction for people visiting the city.

It features a series of political murals painted by various republican groupings.

IRPWA spokesman Gerard Fitzpatrick said his group had planned to paint a mural highlighting what it says is detention and internment without charge in both Palestine and Ireland.

The group plans to position the new mural beside one currently being painted in memory of the hunger strikers by different artists.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the mural will draw parallels between “Palestinian and Irish political prisoners”.

“It is an opportunity for the international community to see that republican prisoners still exist in 2016,” he said.

There was controversy earlier this year when a mural depicting the first republican ‘blanketman’ Ciaran Nugent was removed to make way for a series of 1916 painting that included a picture of former unionist leader Edward Carson.

The Carson section of the wall was later paint bombed.

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