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Gone to the wall; UDA MURAL IS REPLACED.

Byline: MAURICE FITZMAURICE

THE last UDA mural in North Belfast has been painted over and the images of Kalashnikovs replaced with a sculpture which local schoolchildren helped craft.

Two masked UFF men who used to look down on people in the Tyndale district are gone forever and the new sculpture and a garden have been put in their place.

The project, which was unveiled yesterday, is part of the "re-imaging" of areas across the north of the city by community groups with the help of Groundwork Northern Ireland.

Children from Ballysillan Primary School, as well as local residents, had input into the aluminium sculpture's design and their drawings are laser etched onto the panels.

Arts Council chief Roisin McDonough said: "The completion of this project in Ballysillan has taken on a special significance, following the removal of the final UDA mural in North Belfast.

"These newly completed artworks are a result of the community's hard work and dedication."

A Groundworks statement said the garden had transformed the open space on Tyndale Drive and the overall scheme "marks the end of the era where UDA artwork imposed negative influence and marked territory in North Belfast".

The Ulster Political Research Group, which represents the UDA, added: "This change can be seen in its physical format, with the removal of conflict associated imagery across the communities of Westland, Tigers Bay, Upper Ardoyne and Ballysillan. "It represents a more inherent and embedded change within the loyalist community that embraces a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future."

CAPTION(S):

ARTWORK Sculpture by Daniela Balmaverde and, above, unveiling by Daniel Rea, nine, Winnie Scott from the residents association, and Ryan Scott, 10
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 1, 2010
Words:275
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