Avenue Road Somme Society slam leaflets

The Avenue Road Somme Commemoration Mural.
The Avenue Road Somme Commemoration Mural.

A leaflet circulating in the Avenue Road area of Lurgan about murals there has brought a swift response from the local Somme society.

The leaflet voices opposition to the erection of ‘UVF and UDA murals in the area’.

The ‘public meeting notice’ stated: “The majority of the residents of Demesne Avenue, Churchill Avenue and the Avenue Road are concerned about the erection of UVF and UDA murals on the boundary walls, without consultation with or consent from residents.

“These murals are considered to be detrimental to the area and mark it as being sectarian which it is not and never will be.”

The leaflet said the Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) Commission has arranged a public meeting to take place on Thursday, March 30 in the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown.

A spokesman for the Avenue Road Somme Society said: “We have been informed that there have been leaflets distributed in the Avenue Road area. We as a Somme Society are utterly appalled that these individuals are targeting our historic mural.

“Our mural sits with pride in memory of those Ulstermen who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the Battle of The Somme in 1916. A battle where 5,500 members of the 36th Ulster Division were killed, injured or went missing and three Victoria Crosses were earned in the first two days of the Battle.

“We feel that our mural brings positives to our community, as it sits on a wall, where for years anything that was put on it was vandalised and graffitied upon.

“We have had a lot of praise for our historical mural from local residents and visitors, commending us on how the mural brightens up the area. We can assure you our mural will not be removed and ask anyone who feels our mural is ‘sectarian’ to do a bit of research and have some pride in your forefathers exploits at the Battle of The Somme and other conflicts throughout the years.”

It is not clear if the leaflet refers to the Somme memorial, a nearby mural dedicated to the UDA or both.