One of Belfast’s most photographed murals disappeared for ever yesterday.
The 40ft UFF mural depicted a hooded gunman with the words “You are now entering loyalist Sandy Row” and was originally painted in 1998.
Because of its proximity to the city centre it became one of the best-known loyalist murals.
The move is part of a scheme to create four pieces of public art in Sandy Row.
Community worker Garnett Busby said there were mixed feelings about the mural’s removal and that even he felt “a twinge” when the renovation work started yesterday morning.
“There is quite strong community affection for the mural because it has been there for a long time, but the community realises times have changed,” he said.
“I felt a twinge when the painting started because I’m so used to seeing it as soon as I come over the Boyne bridge.”
Mr Busby said that, last year, out of 75 shops on Sandy Row, just 35 were occupied.
But since the regeneration work started, with a new Linfield Football Club mural last November, there has been a new buzz about the area.
Artist Ross Wilson said the new mural would feature King William III as he had passed through the area on his way to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
He said the removal of the UFF mural was the end of an era but the “beginning of the future”.