Wall with loyalist mural is owned by Housing Executive

A loyalist mural in Lurgan has caused fear amongst local residents
A loyalist mural in Lurgan has caused fear amongst local residents

The wall where loyalists have erected a huge mural to the UDA is owned by the NI Housing Executive.

The government body admitted to owning the property on the Avenue Road in Lurgan.

It follows suggestions last month by the NIHE that the property was privately owned after residents voiced concern about the mural.

It features large images about the UDA and includes a history of the paramiltary organisation as well as a photo of top loyalist John McMichael and Andy Tyrie.

One local householder described feeling “sick, scared and defeated” after being unable to get assistance from authorities.

“I am now living in front of a terrorist memorial,” he said.

“I have called the mayor’s office, written to my MP and MLAs, listened to the anger and fear of my neighbours. The authorities are still ‘working on it’.

When the concerns were first raised the NIHE said it did not own the wall or land where the mural had been erected.

However, The Irish News asked again after examining Land Registry documents that suggest the housing body does own the land.

The Housing Executive confirmed its ownership this week – but did not say whether it would remove the mural.

A spokeswoman said: “Following a query by The Irish News we undertook to investigate ownership of the wall.

“We can confirm the mural is located on a wall which the Housing Executive owns in part. It was placed without the approval of the Housing Executive.”

She added: “We aim to work with the local community and their representatives to find a local solution to this issue.”

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said previously said that no planning approval had been sought for the display and it was seeking further information.

The PSNI had said officers were making enquiries to “establish who has ownership of the wall involved”.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said she had spoken with residents and those involved in the erection of the mural and believed that “progress is being made”.

Sinn Féin councillor Liam Mackle said the mural could be a sign of the UDA “marking its territory”, while SDLP’s Joe Nelson said the council should be tackling the issue as a planning enforcement matter.