Northern Ireland news

Calls for PSNI to remove new Wesley Somerville UVF tribute banner

The banner featuring UVF killer Wesley Somerville has been erected in Moygashel, Co Tyrone
Connla Young

THE sons of a murdered Catholic man have called on police to remove a banner glorifying a UVF killer.

Brian and Aidan Falls spoke out last night after it emerged that a banner featuring Wesley Somerville has been hung from a lamppost in Moygashel outside Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

Somerville is suspected of being part of a gang that shot their father Patrick Falls (45) at a pub at Aughamullan, near Coalisland, in November 1974.

The banner includes an image of Somerville, the UVF crest and an image of a UVF flag.

A second banner next to it bears an image of two masked gunmen with the words “Mid Ulster Brigade” and the UVF logo.

A UVF flag with the words “Mid Ulster Brigade” and Moygashel has also been erected above.

In a joint statement, the brothers last night called for the banner to be removed.

Read More: Doug Beattie calls for removal of Moygashel UVF banner

“The erection of the Wesley Somerville banner constitutes a hate crime,” they said.

“The PSNI must act in line with their legal obligation and remove material immediately which is causing harassment and distress to our family.”

The brothers also claimed “it is totally unacceptable for the PSNI to repeatedly say they will consult with the Moygashel community representatives regarding the matter”.

“The PSNI so-called 'consultation' never achieves anything - the banner remains in place and we never receive any feedback.”

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

His brother John James Somerville, who died last year, was sentenced to life in 1981 for his part in the murder of Patrick Falls.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that planners at Mid Ulster District Council have been asked to investigate the erection of another Somerville banner last year.

The development came after a recent court hearing in relation to the removal of the banner.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council planning office did receive a complaint about an alleged planning breach in Moygashel in 2018. This case is now closed.

“A complaint about an alleged planning breach in Moygashel was received yesterday. The Planning Office have opened a new case and are now investigating.”

Chief Inspector Mervyn Seffen said: "Police received a report of a banner erected in Moygashel this afternoon. Following enquiries conducted this evening, this is now being treated as a hate incident."

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