Northern Ireland

PSNI investigating sinister UFF mural which gloats at murder of Catholics

A sinister UFF mural put up in east Belfast last week
A sinister UFF mural put up in east Belfast last week

The PSNI has said it is investigating a sinister loyalist mural which depicts the grim reaper and gloats about the mass murder of innocent Catholics.

It is believed the UFF mural was put up in the Beersbridge/Castlereagh Road area of east Belfast last month, while a similar banner is also said to have appeared in Larne, Co Antrim.

Confirmation that police are investigating the mural as a "hate crime" came more than a month after chief constable Simon Byrne was contacted by victims' group Relatives for Justice.

A PSNI spokeswoman last night said the mural is no longer on display close to commercial premises and that "enquiries are continuing".

Images of the signs, which refer to the Sean Graham bookmakers and Greysteel attacks, have been circulated on social media.

The mural, which bears the crest of the UFF, references attacks carried out by republicans, including the 1992 Teebane bomb and 1993 Shankill bomb, which killed a combined total of 17 Protestants and an IRA man.

It also refers to revenge attacks including the 1992 attack at Sean Graham Bookmakers on the Ormeau Road, which killed five Catholics and a UFF gun attack at the Rising Sun Bar at Greysteel in 1993, which claimed the lives of six Catholics and two Protestants.

The poster carries the callous message: "The Provo's (sic) fear the reaper, from the UFF he comes, the loyalist executioner, he brings judgement with his gun.

"He strikes when no-one expects him to from behind his hood cold eyes, the reaper bring stiff justice and another Provo dies.

"He brought revenge for Teebann (sic) in the Ormeau bookies five and for the Shankill bombing Greysteel was his reply.

"Sometimes his lust is chilling as he goes about his task, the Provos fear the reaper, there's death behind his mask."

Billy McManus
Billy McManus

Billy McManus, whose father William was one of those killed at Sean Graham bookmakers, slammed the offensive

"There’s nothing brave or noble about entering a bookmakers or a bar and gunning down defenceless people having a wee social bet or an evening out with friends - nothing brave about murdering women and children," he said.

"Most right thinking people would view this as something to be totally ashamed of rather than something to celebrate in a mural."

Mr McManus added: "This mural adds to the hurt and pain of the bereaved families and survivors. It is just sickening and very upsetting.

“Are we yet again to be failed as loyalists gloat over and celebrate the murders of our loved ones through such unacceptable murals?"

Mark Thompson from Relatives for Justice said: "There must be no place in our society for the celebration of blatant sectarian murder.

"Those responsible must face the full rigours of the law.

"The PSNI must do their job."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “We can confirm this is being treated as a hate crime and is currently under investigation.”

Sean Graham bookmakers, where five Catholics were shot dead in 1992
Sean Graham bookmakers, where five Catholics were shot dead in 1992