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Tribute to UVF killer branded `insensitive' - The Irish News
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Tribute to UVF killer branded `insensitive'

Police officers examine the scene of the explosion that killed three members of the Miami Showband and two UVF members including Wesley Somerville in July 1975
Connla Young

A campaign group has claimed the erection of a banner in memory of a UVF killer shows a "lack of respect" for his victims.

The Pat Finucane Centre spoke out after it emerged that a banner glorifying UVF hitman Wesley Somerville is being flown from a lamp-post in Moygashel, near Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

The UVF man died with fellow loyalist Harris Boyle as they placed a bomb on a minibus carrying the Miami Showband near Banbridge in Co Down on July 31, 1975.

The bus had earlier been stopped at a bogus UDR checkpoint.

After the explosion a UVF gang - some of them also UDR members - opened fire on the band, killing lead singer Fran O'Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy and wounding two others.

Survivors, relatives and friends of the victims gathered at the spot where they were killed at the weekend to mark the 40th anniversary of their deaths.

The tribute banner to Somerville is similar to one erected in Moygashel last year.

A the time former Miami Showband member Stephen Travers said the banner served as a reminder of the murders.

Alan Brecknell from the Pat Fincuane Centre last night said the banner sends out the wrong message.

"The placing of this poster now on an annual basis shows a lack of respect to the memory of those bereaved and injured at the hands of Wesley Somerville and his colleagues within the UVF in the area," he said.

"There were a number of very dignified events held both in Dublin and at Buskhill, County Down to remember the Miami Showband members who were killed when Wesley Somerville and other UVF and UDR members attack the band.

"We all need to think about what messages we send out by our actions and ask are they going to lead to better relations in the future."

In the book Lethal Allies, by Anne Cadwallader of The Pat Finucane Centre, he was also identified as a suspect in the murders of Arthur Mulholland and Eugene Doyle at Hayden's Bar near Pomeroy in Co Tyrone in 1975.


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