Belfast Telegraph

Badge of shame... republican snowman with RPG and AK-47 among sinister Christmas gifts

By Cate McCurry

Republican Christmas cards and a pin depicting a beret-wearing snowman holding a rocket propelled grenade launcher and a machine-gun are signs of "sick minds", it has been claimed.

The festive republican card illustrates a police officer and soldier walking past a Santa Claus, who is hiding a rifle behind his back.

The greetings card - which wishes its recipient a Merry Christmas - is being sold as an Irish republican satirical item.

The description box details state: "Christmas and New Year's card with an image of Santa Claus standing holding a rifle behind his back saying 'Ho, ho, ho' while a police officer and a British soldier walk by and they are saying the following words: 'So maybe I am paranoid, I still don't like the way he's looking at us'. Classic."

One of the Christmas cards has been snapped up for £1.50, while two are still available to buy.

On the inner leaf of the card it reads 'Nollaig Shona Agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit', which is Irish for Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The seller - All Things Irish - offers a wide range of republican items.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey slammed the items as "glorifying terrorism".

The Policing Board member added: "It's quite clear that whoever has decided to sell these items does not understand what Christmas is all about - peace on Earth and goodwill to all men. Clearly, this individual does not believe in peace or goodwill.

"To use the image of Father Christmas to glorify terrorism is a sign of a sick and warped mind."

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The site was also selling the IRA/INLA pin badge featuring a snowman with an RPG-7, a Kalashnikov and a tricolour scarf.

Mr Hussey condemned the items.

"To use the image of a snowman, which again is something associated with children, shows a sick mind," he added.

"I would also have serious concerns about anyone who would buy such items and consider them very inappropriate for Christmas.

"Clearly there is a demand somewhere, and if someone wants something glorifying terrorism for Christmas, it is a poor sign of the individual themselves.

"This sends a message that there are people who do not agree with the peace process, who do not agree with the current state of Northern Ireland and who believe the way to change that is by force of arms.

"People are making a profit out of this and it appears this money is to help dissident republicans or to line someone else's pocket.

"It sends out the totally wrong message at this time of year."

It comes weeks after eBay was forced to remove a republican badge depicting a PSNI officer with crosshairs aimed at his back.

The item, which was being sold for £5, was removed from sale following a number of complaints.

Last night eBay had not responded to our request for a comment.

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