Bestie replaces Wright on mural

A MURAL of mid-Ulster terror boss Billy Wright has been replaced by a memorial to George Best.

The painting of Wright, nicknamed King Rat, appeared at Brownstown Road in Portadown after the LVF leader was shot dead by the INLA in the Maze prison in December, 1997.

The replacement shows the Cregagh-born superstar in his Manchester United heyday as well as in a Northern Ireland strip and also bears the IFA crest.

Speaking last night from New York, Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, said: "We naturally welcome anything positive that comes out of George's death, especially if it goes any way to bringing the two communities in Northern Ireland closer together.

"I know there are plans to replace other murals – some of which are similarly associated with paramilitaries – in other parts of the Province with tributes to George."

Portadown councillor David Jones said people living in the Brownstown area had decided to replace the Billy Wright mural.

He said: "They decided to make the change and have opted for a mural which not only celebrates the life of George, but is also less confrontational as far as other members of the community are concerned."

The new mural follows a relatively recent trend of replacing paramilitary or sectarian murals with those celebrating Northern Ireland's heritage.

Another notable example was the replacement last year of the UFF Grim Reaper in Tullycarnet, east Belfast, with a memorial to west Belfast-born World War Two Victoria Cross recipient James Magennis.