Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 09:24 UK

Loyalist mural to get facelift

Loyalist mural

One of the last remaining loyalist paramilitary murals in Londonderry is to be replaced.

Local residents in the Caw area of the Waterside have been involved in discussions about what should replace the UVF mural.

The new images will be based on the past, present and future of the site of the former Ebrington barracks, which closed in December 2003.

The Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group has received £14,917 in funding from the Arts Council's Reimaging Communities programme, which aims to transform visible signs of sectarianism and racism.

Community worker Linda Watson said people in the area had decided it was time for a change.

At the height of the Troubles, people wanted murals like this because it made them feel a little bit safer
Marty Edwards
Mural artist

"There was a lot of consultation and thankfully we all agreed it was time to move forward," she said.

"The people who live in this house were happy to have it over the years, but now their children are older, they would like to see something different in its place.

"We're doing a lot of cross-community work now and, although we don't want to forget about our history and culture, what we really want to do is make it a more welcoming place."

The new image will be painted by artist Marty Edwards, who has been responsible in the past for paramilitary murals.

"It's really starting to fall into place," he said.

"At the height of the Troubles, people wanted murals like this because it made them feel a little bit safer."

'Promoting harmony'

Nigel Gardiner, of loyalist ex-prisoners group Epic, said it was "difficult to a small degree" to persuade some of his colleagues that the paramilitary mural should be replaced.

He said they changed their minds after being told it was about the regeneration of the area and "in the best interests of promoting community harmony".

The new design has not been finalised and is subject to final approval from the Arts Council, but should be in place by August.

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