Tyrone tribute to UVF murderer Wesley Somerville removed
An SDLP councillor who witnessed her father being murdered by the UVF has welcomed the removal of a "hateful" banner celebrating his killer which was erected in a Co Tyrone village.
The banner paying tribute to loyalist killer Wesley Somerville had been erected on a lamppost in Moygashel, but was mysteriously removed yesterday.
"I'm obviously glad it has been removed, but I'm also a bit shell-shocked because last year it was left up until the end of August," Denise Mullen told the Belfast Telegraph.
The banner, put up alongside a UVF flag, included an image of two masked gunmen and read: 'Mid Ulster Brigade UVF, Moygashel. In memory of our fallen volunteers.'
Denise was just four when she watched her father Dennis Mullen (36) being shot dead by the Glenanne gang on the doorstep of their family home in Moy in September 1975.
Her mother Olive survived despite being shot 13 times.
The gun used in the murder was recovered a month later following the Miami Showband massacre. UVF members Somerville and Harris Boyle - who were both also in the UDR - were killed when a bomb they had attempted to plant in the band's minibus exploded prematurely.
Denise described the banner as "deeply hurtful" but said she was more concerned about the UVF flag and called for those responsible for putting it up to remove it.
"It should be replaced with a Union flag, which isn't ideal, but it's better than a UVF flag," she said.
"As someone who has had her father murdered at the hands of the UVF, I find it very offensive."
DUP councillor Kim Ashton stressed that she was opposed to all paramilitary groups, but warned that whoever removed the flag risked stirring up trouble.
"There is no doubt that this will stoke tensions in the area and anyone who says otherwise is very naive," she said.
Referring to IRA murals and graffiti in nearby Dungannon, the councillor claimed the outrage was always one-sided.
"I have never heard nationalist councillors in the area speaking out about images of IRA slogans and guns in the town, which are on display every day of the year."
The PSNI said: "Police received reports shortly after 1.15pm (yesterday) concerning the removal of a poster in the Moygashel area. Enquiries into this incident are ongoing."