Northern Ireland news

Family of UVF murder victim threaten legal action in a bid to have Moygashel 'hate' banners removed

Loyalist banners in Moygashel, Co Tyrone.
Connla Young

THE family of a UVF murder victim has threatened legal action in a bid to force the PSNI and a Stormont department to remove a banner dedicated to a loyalist killer.

In June relatives of people killed by the UVF called for a banner commemorating Wesley Somerville to be removed from a lamppost in Moygashel, Co Tyrone.

Since then a separate banner paying tribute to the ‘8th battalion' of the UDR has also been hung from a lamppost in the village.

Similar banners have also been put up in Dungannon.

Somerville was killed along with fellow loyalist Harris Boyle - both members of the UDR - as they placed a bomb on a minibus carrying the Miami Showband near Banbridge in Co Down on July 31, 1975.

Solicitors acting for Conor Casey, whose father Tommy was murdered by the UVF near Cookstown in October 1990, have written to the PSNI and Department for Infrastructure (DfI) over their failure to remove the Somerville banner.

Solicitor Darragh Mackin last night said the PSNI has a legal obligation to act.

“It can never be acceptable for the PSNI to have a policy not to act when there are posters erected which constitute hate crimes,” he said.

“For too long this has been accepted. It's time the PSNI acted in line with their legal obligation and remove material which infringes on victims human rights.”

The solicitor also said the DfI also has a responsibility in the matter.

“The DfI can't sit on their hands and allow crimes to be committed on their property,” he said.

“They must act to remove the offensive banners when they are affixed to department property.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Mervyn Seffen said: “I can confirm the Police Service of Northern Ireland is in receipt of legal correspondence and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

A DfI spokeswoman said: “The Department can confirm that we have received a notice of intention to pursue legal action in relation to the removal of banners on the public road in Moygashel.

"As this matter is the subject of legal proceedings we have no further comment at this time.”

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