Northern Ireland news

Anger at Bloody Sunday 'Soldier F' banner in Co Antrim

A banner supporting a former British soldier due to face prosecution for the murder of two men on Bloody Sunday has been put up in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim
Connla Young

Concerns have been raised over a banner supporting a former British soldier facing prosecution for the murder of two people on Bloody Sunday.

It is understood the banner, which reads ‘Carrickfergus stands with Soldier F – stop persecuting our veterans’ was put up in recent days.

The Public Prosecution Service has confirmed that the former Parachute Regiment soldier will be prosecuted for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney on Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1971.

He will also be prosecuted for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

In total 14 men died after being shot while taking part in a civil rights march through the city.

It is understood a large number of Parachute Regiment flags have also been put up around the seaside town.

It has been claimed that police were in the area as the flags were being put up by a group of men last week.

One of three logos on the controversial banner, which is close to the town’s historic castle, appears to be linked with the Royal British Legion.

The banner has been put up close to Carrickfergus Castle

Some residents of the town have voiced concern about the development.

One Catholic man, who did not want be named, was critical.

“It is offensive to other people coming through,” he said.

“Not everybody in Carrickfergus does support that.

“It’s as if these people own Carrickfergus but they don’t.”

Another resident, who also did not want to be named, said he was “quite upset” by the development.

Alliance Party representative and former RAF member, Noel Williams who is standing in the local elections, said the “abuse of military flags and regimental insignia in this way (is) completely unacceptable”.

"The case of Soldier F is an ongoing case and we must let the law take its course, free of pressure and interference,” he said.

“This is hurtful to the bereaved families and is designed to intimidate and to create a chill factor for many who live, work or visit Carrickfergus, which I want to be shared, welcoming and open to all."

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