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Miami survivor calls for meeting with those behind terror poster

The Wesley Somerville and UVF banners on display in Moygashel Co Tyrone. Picture by Mal McCann
Connla Young

A SURVIVOR of the Miami Showband massacre has said he would like to meet the people who put up a banner glorifying one of the killers.

Stephen Travers spoke out after a banner was put up on a lamp-post in memory of UVF killer Wesley Somerville in Moygashel in Co Tyrone.

He died with fellow loyalist Harris Boyle as they placed a bomb on a minibus the Miami Showband were travelling in near Banbridge in Co Down on July 31, 1975.

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

Mr Travers survived the blast and gun attacks and now campaigns for reconciliation in the north.

He, along with several other victims and campaigners, has formed a group known as the Truth and Reconciliation Platform.

The tribute to Somerville appeared alongside a separate banner glorifying the UVF.

It includes an image of two armed and masked men with the words: “Mid Ulster Brigade UVF, Moygashel. In memory of our fallen volunteers.”

A message on the Somerville banner says it has been sponsored by Moygashel Cultural Group.

Speaking last night Mr Travers said he would like to meet those behind the banner "to try to understand why they continue to honour someone who disgraced unionism/loyalism".

“I invite The Moygashel Cultural Group, along with members of the Moygashel community, to speak at one of our Truth and Reconciliation Platform events as soon as possible so that we can better understand each other,” he said.

SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone has voiced concerns about the banner.

Chief Inspector Roy Robinson said: “We are aware of the erection of these signs in the Moygashel area.

“At this time no crime has been disclosed however we are very aware of the sensitivity of these signs and will keep the situation under review.”

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