Guide pledges to drop ‘biased’ mural article

Image from Google showing the  William 'King Billy' mural, on Sandy Row
Image from Google showing the William 'King Billy' mural, on Sandy Row
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A major holiday guide firm is expected to remove a section about Northern Ireland murals after being accused of giving a biased portrayal of the loyalist/republican paintings.

The descriptions appeared on both Fodor Travel’s website and in a guide book, and the website is reportedly set to be altered following what the company said was “feedback” it had received.

The mural descriptions were picked up on by BBC Northern Ireland, which quoted Northern Irish professor of Irish Studies Peter Shirlow as saying the descriptions were “offensive” and relied upon “sectarian myths”.

The article about murals began: “In Northern Ireland they say the Protestants make the money and the Catholics make the art. As with all clichés, there is some truth ...”

It contrasts “wildly romantic Catholic murals [which] often aspire to the heights of ‘Sistine Chapel lite’” with “more workmanlike efforts that sometimes resemble war comics without the humor” on the loyalist side.

It said in the past loyalist murals were painted by “skilled coach builders” to mark the Twelfth. But they go on to describe the expression on King William’s face as looking like “he has just eaten an overdose of anchovies”.

Loyalist murals have become “grimmer” of late, and include depictions of “paramilitaries perpetually standing firm against increasing liberalism, nationalism, and all the other isms that Protestants see eroding their stern, Bible-driven way of life”.

It suggests they are unsafe to visit around the Twelfth.

On the other hand, republican murals rely on “themes of freedom from oppression and a rising nationalist confidence”.

The News Letter sought to contact Fodor’s yesterday, but no response was received at time of writing.

However, the BBC quoted a company spokesperson as saying they will remove the content in question, adding: “Fodor’s Travel is always listening to the feedback we receive about our content, and we take action when we’re notified of content that is outdated, inaccurate, or insensitive.”