Council logo on Tony Taylor posters in Londonderry

The poster bearing the logo of Derry City and Strabane District council, erected at the roundabout at Harbour Square in Londonderry city centre
The poster bearing the logo of Derry City and Strabane District council, erected at the roundabout at Harbour Square in Londonderry city centre

Posters bearing the logo of Derry City and Strabane District Council calling for the release of the jailed republican Tony Taylor must be removed, a DUP MLA has said.

Photographs appear to show the posters, which have been erected in both Strabane and Londonderry, being put up by men wearing high-visibility vests that also bear the local council’s logo.

A photograph showing a group of men, some of whom are wearing Derry City and Strabane District council branded clothing, erecting the 'free Tony Taylor' poster at the roundabout at Harbour Square in Londonderry city centre

A photograph showing a group of men, some of whom are wearing Derry City and Strabane District council branded clothing, erecting the 'free Tony Taylor' poster at the roundabout at Harbour Square in Londonderry city centre

The council, however, said in a statement that it neither commissioned nor erected the posters.

Tony Taylor was jailed for 18 years after being injured when a bomb exploded prematurely in Londonderry in 1994 but released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

In 2011 he was sentenced to a further three years on firearms charges then, in March 2016, he was arrested and returned to Maghaberry having been assessed as posing a risk to the public.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: “Over the weekend individuals took it upon themselves to erect posters calling for the release of convicted terrorist Tony Taylor.

“They decided to use the logo and property of ‘Derry City and Strabane District Council’ to promote this campaign, without the authorisation of the council.

“Photos released have shown the large posters being erected by individuals wearing council branded work wear.”

He continued: “We will be asking council to undertake an urgent investigation into this situation and to take appropriate action in having these posters removed immediately for the good of community relations.”

A campaign for Tony Taylor’s release has been ongoing for some time with the backing of Northern Ireland’s mainstream nationalist parties, including prominent figures from both the SDLP and Sinn Féin.

In 2016, Derry City and Strabane District Council passed a motion by majority vote calling for him to be freed, despite the concerns of the DUP and other unionists on the council.

The News Letter has asked Derry City and Strabane District Council whether it plans to remove the posters, and whether it will conduct an investigation.