Belfast Telegraph

Anger as UDA recruitment poster appears in Tyrone

By Adrian Rutherford

A UDA recruitment poster in Co Tyrone has sparked outrage.

The advert was pasted on to a roadside sign close to Victoria Bridge, between Newtownstewart and Sion Mills.

It told passers-by: "Your country needs you". The poster read: "Ask yourself this question. When the battle is won, will I be able to stand and be counted amongst the men who won it?

"Make sure the answer is yes! Join your local unit of the UDA. Your country needs you."

The poster was condemned by unionist and nationalist politicians. DUP councillor Allan Bresland, who lives in the area, said he was surprised to hear about the poster and said it certainly does not reflect the local community.

"I have never heard there was UDA in the area," he said. "I think this poster was most likely put up by someone who is not from the area, and is trying to stir up trouble. This is a quiet rural area which is mixed. No one wants this."

Mr Bresland added: "There is no call for it at all. We have good enough law and order with a police force to keep the country safe. I would condemn this. It is illegal and totally uncalled for."

SDLP councillor Mary Garrity said: "It is not something that will be welcomed by the local community. This is coming from a minority who are intent on stirring up trouble. I do not think for one moment that it will get much support."

And Sinn Fein councillor Brian McMahon said the poster does not do anything for community relations.

"This is a small group of people indulging in mindless stupid behaviour," he said.

"I'm sure the vast majority of the Protestant community wouldn't want this done in their name. There is no justification for this and it does nothing for community relations."

The poster follows a number of similar incidents in the West Tyrone area. Two weeks ago the letters 'UDA' were painted on a sign at a cemetery in Omagh, along with the terror group's 'QS' (Quis Separabit) slogan.

It was later removed by the council.

A sign in Plumbridge was also daubed with 'UDA'.

And there was outrage two weeks ago when a poster of LVF killer Billy Wright was erected in Dungannon.

It includes an image of Wright along with one of his chilling quotes bragging "Cappagh was probably my best", in reference to the UVF's murder of four people in the Co Tyrone village on March 3, 1991. He was expelled from the UVF in 1996 after his unit broke a ceasefire, and he went on to found the LVF. In 1997 he was murdered by INLA prisoners.

Despite condemnation from across the community, the Wright poster remains on display, with the PSNI saying it is working with the community in an attempt to resolve this matter and, "will continue to do so".

Belfast Telegraph


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