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Northern Ireland news

Victim hits out at plan to unveil UDR flag at Belfast rally

A flag paying tribute to the UDR will be unveiled at a rally involving leading far-right figures in Belfast this weekend
Connla Young

THE daughter of a man killed as a result of suspected collusion has criticised plans to unveil a new flag paying tribute to the UDR during a rally involving leading far-right figures this weekend.

It is believed the flag will be carried at the demonstration featuring speakers from controversial group Britain First outside Belfast city hall on Sunday.

Those attending are also expected to take part in a short parade organised by 'Northern Ireland Against Terrorism'.

A separate loyalist march is also due to take place in the area a short time later.

The rally, whose organisers include independent unionist councillor Jolene Bunting, and both parades were set to coincide with a republican anti-internment march through the city centre.

However, the Parades Commission has banned the republican march from the area and placed restrictions on the other two.

It is believed the UDR flag, which bears the regiment's crest and an image of two men carrying guns, has been produced by the British Truth Forum (BTF).

It also carries the words ‘peacemakers' in black writing and includes two poppies.

A similar flag has been produced to remember female members of the regiment, known as greenfinches.

Formed in 1970 to replace the B-Specials, and disbanded in 1992, some members of the UDR have been accused of involvement in the sectarian murder of innocent Catholics.

SDLP councillor Denise Mullen's father Denis was shot dead in 1975 by the Glenanne gang, which included members of the UVF, UDR and RUC.

She described the flag as offensive.

“They use the word ‘peacemakers'. I'm actually affronted at that, it's disgraceful,” she said.

“They were by and large a corrupt organisation, it was not just the Glenanne Gang they were involved with.”

The BTF came to prominence earlier this year when loyalists reacted angrily to the removal of a Union flag and pole from the centre of Magherafelt in Co Derry by Mid Ulster District Council.

Since then a large number of Union flags have been put up around the mainly nationalist town.

It is understood loyalists also intend to fly the UDR tribute flag around Magherafelt and other towns across the north in the coming days.

A spokesman for the British Truth Forum defended the actions of the UDR.

“We have chosen the sacrifice of the Ulster Defence Regiment, as this regiment paid the largest sacrifice in the defeat of Sinn Fein/IRA terrorism.

“We are calling on Ulster's people to back the campaign of justice for our troops and also for British politicians to voice and back through legislation that no ex-member of our armed services will spend a day in prison, due to anything related to the Northern Ireland terrorist campaign.”

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