Derriaghy estate set for a major revamp

Three paramilitary murals are to be taken down and replaced with a £50,000 work of art as part of a major revamp at Milltown estate in Derriaghy.

The unveiling of the project is expected to take place in June, and will show a mill wheel which will depict the history of the five mills once located in the area. The art piece will is expected to have lights and a seating area too.

Around £350,000 is to be spent on the estate, through the Peace III project and Lagan Rural Partnership.

Great work has already taken place including a community garden, an all weather pitch, and bollards were also replaced while a project upgrading the shopping area is currently taking place in the estate.

Milltown was once described in an official report as one of the most deprived areas in the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council areas.

Welcoming the latest plan for the removal of the murals, Jim McLaughlin of the Derriaghy Village Community Association spoke of his delight.

He organised a number of community discussions and public meetings about plans to remove murals which were put up in the Milltown estate 15 years ago.

The group contacted the UPRG, the Ulster Political Research Group an advisory body connected to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), and asked for them to be taken down.

“From the public meetings that we held residents expressed to us that they were just sick looking at the murals and felt that they were just done and a little outdated,” said Jim.

“This is a mixed area and it always has been and we all live in harmony.

“We want that to continue and so we felt that the murals could be taken down and replaced with something a little bit more positive and something that reflects the Milltown culture. I feel a lot of people will love it. It is going to be really nice.”

The group applied for funding last Christmas from the Arts Council and interviewd a number of artists.

They were only told their application had been successful in February.

Assembly member Jonathan Craig, welcomed the good news story for the area.

“I am very supportive of the community group who have worked really hard to get this work of art and will at long last see the final results,” said Mr Craig.

“This will be a fitting tribute and will show the estate in a positive and glorious way. There were once around five mills in the area, a spade and linen mill. I think this will be a welcome step forward.”