Northern Ireland news

Hardline loyalist group say they 'support message' contained in bonfire posters

Police said controversial signs did not break any law.

A hardline loyalist group have said while they did not erect posters which threaten Mid Ulster Council they are are "in support of the message they send".

The controversial British Truth Forum also hit out at a decision not to prosecute anyone for the removal of a flag pole and union flag from a roundabout in the centre of Magherafelt last year, they claim was illegally removed from private land.

Last month the group were blamed for erecting signs after Mid-Ulster District Council voted to introduce a controversial bonfire licensing scheme.

Posters which read;‘Attention Mid Ulster Council - continued cultural oppression can only lead to aggression toward the oppression’ appeared in several locations.

The PSNI said the signs did not break any law "having sought legal advice can identify no offences that have been committed" a spokesperson said.

The flagpole in Magherafelt was cut down by council workers last February.

William Lennox, a spokesman for the BTF, said they were "not directly responsible for the erection of the signs, but are in support of the message they send, the main objective was to let Mid Ulster council know they cannot continue this cultural oppression without consequences.

"When you oppress someone's cultural identity, they see this as a personal attack and the only possible reaction is fight or flight, with the latter becoming more unlikely.

"BTF are in no way affiliated with paramilitary organisations, we are all, law abiding citizens", he added.

Mr Lennox also said he contacted the PSNI and reported the removal of the flag pole, by the council, as a crime. The PSNI sent a file to the PPS which ordered no prosecution.

The BTF asked under Freedom of Information what the PSNI's recommendation to the PPS was.

While usually available to the public under the FOI the organisation were told in this case the PPS were using "legal professional privilege" to withhold details of the advice from the PSNI .

The information commissioner for the PPS said; "I have decided that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure".

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