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Banner tribute to LVF killer Billy Wright erected in Tyrone

By Cate McCurry

Published 08/07/2016

The poster eulogising Billy Wright
The poster eulogising Billy Wright

Police are investigating the erection of a large banner eulogising murdered LVF leader Billy Wright on a street light in Dungannon.

The controversial sign has been hung next to a bonfire and carries an image of notorious paramilitary leader along with the words: 'In proud memory of Brigadier Billy Wright'.

It also uses a quote attributed to the sectarian killer: "I would look back and say Cappagh was probably my best".

This refers to the murder of four men, including three IRA members, at a bar in Cappagh outside Dungannon in 1991.

SDLP Assembly member Patsy McGlone described the sign as "disgraceful" and the "lowest of sectarian hate" and has made a complaint to the PSNI.

He said: "This was an awful sectarian atrocity by a terrible sectarian killer and I don't think it is anything to brag about under any circumstance.

"Whoever is responsible for either printing or erecting that banner should be prosecuted for hate crime.

"Community leaders have to use whatever influence they have to get this removed.

"At this time of year tensions rise and thankfully most people will try and diffuse those tensions but this is one of the most despicable things I have seen or heard of.

"When I see that all I think of is the people who were murdered that night and others who were murdered by Billy Wright."

Billy Wright
Billy Wright
LVF leader Billy Wright
Loyalist paramilitary Billy Wright pictured in Portadown in August 1996.

Independent councillor for Dungannon Barry Monteith, said the poster heightened tension in the town.

"To try and antagonise and glorify any killing I think is pretty reprehensible and there's only one reason why anyone would be doing something like this and that's to further stoke the fire and increase tension in the area," he said.

"If the only way they have of marking their culture is to attack and antagonise grieving families it's a sad situation and the four men that were killed where the best that the community has to offer and you can't say that about the people who would glorify their deaths."

Mark Thompson, director of Relatives for Justice, released a statement on behalf of the Cappagh victims' families saying that no one should be engaged in "provocative and depraved" behaviour.

"The poster has no place in a civilised society. It is designed to cause further hurt to already grieving families," he said.

"Further, there is no doubt it is a hate crime.

The two guns used in the INLA murder of Billy Wright
The two guns used in the INLA murder of Billy Wright
Former LVF founder and leader Billy Wright who was killed inside the Maze Prison by the INLA in 1997

"There are multiple agencies, local and governmental, all with legal responsibility to act immediately, to have this poster removed and to hold those responsible for this egregious crime to account."

Police confirmed they were aware of the banner's existence and said they were carrying out an investigation.

Billy Wright killer, Christopher 'Crip' McWilliams
Billy Wright killer, Christopher 'Crip' McWilliams

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