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Interior walls Laundry Room & Half Bath

The walls of our laundry room and half bath, in our 1952 brick Cape Cod have a layer (minimum 1/4 inch and thicker)of some sort of plaster/cement that's been trowled on in a very haphazard manner. It's all lumps and dips with no attempt made to make it smooth or flat. THis coating is skimmed over brick and cinder block walls.
Question is, can I remove it? I've given it a go in a particular thick spot and it does come off. Why do I need to take it off: because it is ugly and uneven and painted with a hideous pale pink colour in high gloss! Thing is, the house is very small and applying some sort of covering over this mess would take up too much room, causing problems with doors opening, etc.
Can I go around and chip the coating off? I know it will take time but that precious 1/4 inch plus would be needed to apply a smooth coating over the walls or to apply some sort of covering to.
Anyone got any bright ideas and tips how to remove this cement/plaster stuff efficiently? And, what would you suggest be applied to the walls once cleaned off so that the walls are smooth so that cabinets can be hung, etc.

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