A mural in Sligo depicting the band Westlife has been defaced.
The mural was defaced just two nights ago with red spray paint that covered each of the four band members faces, with “gay” written on the face of Nicky Byrne and a penis depicted over the mouth of Shane Filan.
Band Member Nicky Byrne utilized photoshop to re-imagine the defacing in a more positive light, sending his users the message that band members are “all human” regardless of different sexualities.
He captioned the tweet “Hey @oceanfmireland I have re-defaced the Sligo Westlife Mural for the wonderful people of Sligo. Wishing neanderthals everywhere happiness!”
Hey @oceanfmireland I have re-defaced the Sligo Westlife Mural for the wonderful people of Sligo. ❤️
Wishing neanderthals everywhere happiness! @oceanfmireland @MarkusFeehily @ShaneFilan @KianEganWL @westlifemusic pic.twitter.com/PEJolBRgPc
— Nicky Byrne (@NickyByrne) June 6, 2019
The perpetrator of the crime is unknown.
The mural was a touchstone for the West Ireland town for years and was well visited and loved by fans.
The defaced wall was situated beside band members Shane and Kian’s old school Summerhill College in Sligo.
Fans around the world reacted strongly to the offensive defacing.
Twitter user @SAWestlifefan reacted saying “Oh my hell. This doesn’t only make me furious, but it makes me very sad too. This is a tourist attraction for Sligo, Sligo’s pride. Westlife fans from all over the world who visit Sligo, go to see that mural. Who would do something so disgusting? What goes around comes around.”
Another user, @debbiedavidson4, commented “So sad people can do this, the lads have done well and so down to earth they should be glad they come from [sic] there home town jealousy isn’t nice”
This story takes a positive turn with the news that the group Sligo Tidy Town team has now restored the mural to its original state, all homophobic spray paint now gone.
Bandmate Shane Filan’s brother, Finbarr, took to Facebook Thursday evening to post a thank you to the Sligo Tidy Town team for removing the graffiti.
Westlife, famous for songs like If I Let You Go and Hello My Love, are currently touring to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first single. Their new album is entitled Spectrum is set to be released in November.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.