Belfast Telegraph

Calls for removal of controversial Soldier F banner outside Derry housing estate

The banner beside Curryneirin in Tullyally, Co Londonderry.
The banner beside Curryneirin in Tullyally, Co Londonderry.

There have been calls for the removal of a controversial "Soldier F" banner near a housing estate in Londonderry.

The banner is placed beside Curryneirin in Tullyally, which is in the Waterside area of the city.

It's been described by community representatives as a "predominantly nationalist housing estate".

It was announced in March that the former British Army soldier is to face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, who were killed when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972.

He is also facing charges for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson said it's a clear attempt to stir up community divisions.

"I have been contacted by a number of residents, from all backgrounds, who are intimidated in their homes as this banner was put up dozens of people including reports of masked men," he said.

"This banner is both provocative and offensive and is designed to cause hurt to the Bloody Sunday families.

"Those in positions of leadership within unionism need to come out clearly and state their opposition to this banner and other similar ones right across the north and call for their removal."

Banners and flags in support of the former lance corporal have been erected across Northern Ireland. It's prompted condemnation and endorsement from across the political divide.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has informed relatives that it is anticipated Soldier F will appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court in August.

Jackson said his party have passed motions in councils including Derry City and Strabane District Council calling for legal action to force statutory bodies to remove the flags and banners from their property.

“I will also be reporting this banner to the PSNI. It should be removed immediately,” Jackson said.

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