Holyland residents ask what a golfer has to do with them

Residents take a swing at that McIlroy mural

By Stephen McVey

S OME Residents of the Holyland area in South Belfast say they are “upset and angry” at the appearance of a Rory McIlroy mural on a gable wall in the district. Landlord Declan Boyle went ahead with a personal attempt to “brighten up the area” by commissioning the noted mural artist Danny Devenny to paint the gable wall at the end of Damascus Street.

But local resident Carole Phillips said students are once again being giving preferential treatment at the expense of people from the area.

“The mural provides nothing positive for the residents or the area, it just glosses over the on-going problems. We are a lost community struggling to survive and murals are not going to make us feel any better. Would this mural be welcomed with open arms if it were on a house on the Malone Road? I think not.”

But Declan is at a loss to understand why anyone would be angered by the mural.

“The mural idea was discussed with residents a month and a half ago and no objections were made then. I’ve been speaking to a group of Americans who have been taking pictures of it and think it’s great. It has definitely brightened up and enhanced the area,“ he said.

Ray Farley of the Holyland Residents’ Association said the landlord should have gone  through the proper procedures to discuss the plan. And he has balked at  plans to put up more murals.

“It appears to be some sort of charm offensive, but it was done without asking if anyone wanted it. They could have brought it up in a PACT meeting. I don’t think murals of any kind are the sort of thing we want in the Holyland, and I hope there’s no more of them.”

Another Holyland resident, who did not want to be named, thinks the mural has no relevance and believes local people should have the last say on what’s good for the area.

“Residents simply do not want these murals in the Holyland. What right have landlords, who do not live in the area, to decide what residents want? Murals on gable walls are laughable given the state of many houses and front gardens in the Holyland.

“Rory McIlroy was chosen as a personal preference but the guy has  nothing to do with the area. If the landlord likes murals so much why doesn’t he paint them where he lives and then ask his neighbours what they think?”

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