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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 15:57 GMT
NY pressure causes mural removal
The mural was on the side of a KFC outlet
New York city's chief financial officer has revealed how he acted to have a loyalist mural in the Shankill area of Belfast removed.

The mural, which bore the slogan "Welcome to the UFF heartland Shankill Road. Quis separabit", was on the side of a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

It was removed after the New York City Comptroller contacted KFC headquarters.

He reminded the company that New York's Pension Funds owned KFC shares worth more than $30m.

The mural was painted over within 24 hours.

In a new report, the comptroller, William C Thompson - who manages more than $90bn in pension funds - said he acted in defence of the MacBride Principles on employment.

These consist of nine fair employment principles.

The report said the Shankill incident showed "the ability of the Pension Funds to act swiftly in defense of the MacBride Principles".

It said when the mural was brought to the attention of the Comptroller's office it "brought strong and swift pressure to bear".

The report goes on to say: "Since 2003, Comptroller Thompson has negotiated MacBride implementation agreements with several major US companies with significant franchise operations in Northern Ireland, including the Marriot hotel chain, Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil."

It said the KFC controversy "demonstrated the need for New York City to expand the scope of its enforcement of its statutory MacBride Principles mandates to include all companies with active franchise operations in Northern Ireland".

It said this should be the case "even if they had no direct employees in the province".

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