Completed by artist Danny Devenny at the behest of local landlord Declan Boyle, the two-storey mural depicts the world No2 rolling into a full finish against a background of Northern Irish landmarks.
Situated on Damascus Street in Belfast’s south-inner city, the work was commissioned with a view to “brighten[ing] up” an otherwise underprivileged area.
In the fortnight since its completion, however, the painting has succeeded in winning over few local residents. Quite the opposite, in fact: a significant lobby has declared it both patronising and irrelevent.
Speaking to the Belfast Media Group, moaner-at-large Carole Phillips explained her position.
“The mural provides nothing positive for the residents or the area, it just glosses over the on-going problems. We are a lost community struggling to survive and murals are not going to make us feel any better. Would this mural be welcomed with open arms if it were on a house on the Malone Road? I think not.”
The widespread sense of bemusement has also found a voice on Twitter.
Taken aback by the criticism his monument to Northern Ireland’s most famous sporting export has received, Mr. Boyle insists locals were afforded the opportunity to voice their concerns prior to the project’s commencement.
“The mural idea was discussed with residents a month and a half ago and no objections were made then. I’ve been speaking to a group of Americans who have been taking pictures of it and think it’s great. It has definitely brightened up and enhanced the area.”
Pah, and they say Americans have no sense of irony!