UVF poster ‘an example of terrorist idolatry’

A poster of UVF killer Wesley Somerville in Moygashel, Co Tyrone
A poster of UVF killer Wesley Somerville in Moygashel, Co Tyrone

A victims’ group has called on political leaders to take a stand against “terrorist idolatry”, after a banner glorifying a UVF gunman was erected outside a primary school.

The banner, which includes an image of loyalist killer Wesley Somerville with the words: “Mid Ulster Brigade UVF, Moygashel. In memory of our fallen volunteers”, was put up on a lamp-post in Moygashel. It has since been removed, police have confirmed.

A member of the UDR, Somerville was part of the UVF unit that ambushed the Irish cabaret band The Miami Showband in July 1975, resulting in the deaths of three of the band members.

Somerville died with fellow loyalist Harris Boyle as a bomb they placed on the band’s minibus exploded prematurely.

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United (IVU), said he recognised that families have a right to remember a loved one, no matter how they died.

However, he added: “What we will not accept nor endorse are public showings of terrorism idolatry.

“There was zero legitimacy for the Miami Showband attack and that is the case for all terror crimes perpetrated by the UVF, PIRA and their sister organisations.”

Mr Donaldson said the role of politicians and community leaders must be to stand with the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism.

He added: “Political and community leaders have a choice – stand by the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and seek to encourage genuine peace and reconciliation or continue to be a part of the problem by either promoting or excusing the perpetuation of terrorism.”