Belfast Telegraph

Google refuses to ban sale of IRA T-shirts

Row: T-shirt available on Google
Row: T-shirt available on Google

By Alison Fleming

IRA victims are furious at a decision by Google to continue selling T-shirts online which glorify the terrorist group.

In a move that's been met with disbelief, Google is refusing to halt the sale of the items because the IRA doesn't appear on a list of US foreign terrorists, despite the organisation being banned in the UK.

A Mail on Sunday investigation found the technology firm had also been selling clothing branded with the insignia of other terror groups including Lebanese militants Hezbollah, which have subsequently been removed, and Sri Lankan terror group the Tamil Tigers, which the paper says the company has also pledged to take down as both organisations feature on the US foreign terrorists list.

But the IRA isn't on the list, prompting Google's refusal to remove the T-shirts and sparking anger among victims of IRA violence.

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, is calling for urgent regulation, describing the position as "sickening".

"The IRA are a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and this is a matter on which the UK Government needs to exert its pressure," he said.

"Google needs hit financially through its very favourable taxation deal if it insists on being a facilitator for the promotion of terrorism idolatry."

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, former Conservative minister Norman Tebbit accused Google of lacking morality and said the trade must stop.

"Effectively, the company is saying that just because the IRA does not appear on the official US list, it is not a terrorist group," he said.

"Maybe Google needs some help. The company could try talking to the widow of Ian Gow MP, who was murdered in July 1990 outside his home.

"Perhaps Google should also try talking to the relatives of the five people killed when Brighton's Grand Hotel was blown up during the 1984 Tory Party conference.

"The bomb left my wife Margaret paralysed."

In a statement, Google said: "While we want Google Shopping to help connect people with advertisers and products, there are certain products that we don't allow.

"We have strict advertising policies in place and when we find violations we work quickly to remove them."

It's unclear whether the policy regarding the sale of items will be reviewed.

Belfast Telegraph


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