The John Peel/Undertones mural under a Belfast flyover

The John Peel/Undertones mural under a Belfast flyover

IT had become almost as iconic as punk godfather Terri Hooley, the Titanic basin and George Best in Belfast.

For nine years John Peel was honoured in the city with a line from an Undertones song he played on the radio which launched the grooup.

But now civil servants in their wisdom decided to paint over a popular mural in east Belfast which was a tribute to legendary disco jock John Peel.

The mural featured a line from the cult classic song Teenage Kicks by the Undertones.

“Teenage dreams so hard to beat” has been a feature at the Bridge End flyover for years, but many people have now taken to Twitter to question the mural’s disappearance.

Some expressed sadness, while others queried why a positive message had been removed while paramilitary murals remain in other areas.

The mural was a tribute to the late DJ John Peel, whose playing of Teenage Kicks – hailed as his favourite song – saw the Undertones shoot to fame in the late 1970s.

The Derry band’s track was played on Radio 1 and they appeared on Top of the Pops before embarking on their first UK-wide tour.

Peel died in 2004 and Teenage Kicks was played at his funeral.

Belfast City Council has said that it is not responsible for the removal of the mural, which is thought to have been carried out as part of an urban regeneration scheme.

While Roads Service own the wall, the Department of Social Development is responsible for removing the artwork.

“We do not remove graffiti as a standalone issue,” a spokeswoman said.

“However, we will always remove graffiti, after consultation, as part of any scheme if it falls within a scheme area.”

She added that the department may consider funding a replacement.

“Community representatives from the area have made initial contact with the department to develop a proposal to bring together teenagers from the Short Strand and Newtownards Road area to design alternative community art work in this location,” she said.

“The department has funded similar schemes in other locations and does not foresee any issue with an agreed new community mural, subject to consultation with DRD Roads Service who own the wall.”

Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile has tweeted on the issue, saying he’d ideally like to see a cross-community project with local young people to repaint the mural together.

“I’m getting the ball rolling as we speak ref the Short Strand / Inner East teenagers getting together to repaint #TeenageDreams,” he added.


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