Belfast Telegraph

Facebook investigating after 'unrepentant republican' Facebook page glorifies murder of UDR men

UUP councillor Alan Lewis has reported the page to the PSNI and Facebook
UUP councillor Alan Lewis has reported the page to the PSNI and Facebook
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Facebook have confirmed that they are investigating a page which glorified the murder of three UDR men killed by the IRA in 1980.

Police have said that they are conducting enquiries in relation to the page.

Privates Richard Wilson, Roy Smith and James Cochrane, a Catholic, were killed on January 6 by an IRA landmine containing one ton of explosive material at Burrenbridge, near Castlewellan, Co Down.

Two Land Rovers were caught up in the blast, which left four other UDR soldiers injured.

On Monday, the 40th anniversary of the attack, a Facebook page 'South Down Unrepentant Republican' posted a tribute to the IRA men behind the bomb.

It praised those involved and called the killings "a striking blow of resistance against Britain's military presence in Ireland".

Slieve Croob UUP councillor Alan Lewis contacted police and Facebook after seeing the post.

He said that social media sites needed to do more to tackle the spreading of hate speech on their platforms.

"There is free speech and then there is misuse of telecommunications for the purpose of promoting hate, sectarianism and terrorism," the UUP councillor said.

"I’m no snowflake, I don’t offend easily but most of the posts on this page go beyond public decency and in some cases they openly promote terrorism."

Councillor Lewis said that the page had been temporarily removed by Facebook after reports by members of the public, but it has since returned.

"It is time Facebook and the PSNI took action to ensure this page was permanently deleted," he said.

"Facebook are quick to remove what they call right wing extremist pages and associated posts, fast to act when they believe users are intentionally causing offence, however when it comes to Northern Ireland there seems to be an abdication of responsibility, a blind eye is turned to the promotion and encouraging of terrorist activity."

The UUP councillor called the post "grotesque to the point of disgusting".

"It’s 2020, we all have families. I find it unbelievable that there remain some within society who would take pleasure in death, and abhorrent triumphalism," Councillor Lewis said.

He said that every adult who likes, comments and shares posts which glorify acts of violence should be "utterly ashamed of themselves".

Councillor Lewis called on police to identify those behind the page and take action.

"This page must be removed immediately," he said,

A Facebook spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that they were "looking into" the page.

"Police have received a report reference comments on a social media post. Enquiries are ongoing," a PSNI spokesperson said.

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