Belfast Telegraph

Postman who flew Paras flag on way to Northern Ireland match in Dublin suspended by Royal Mail

Paul Harding holding the Parachute Regiment flag on his way to Dublin
Paul Harding holding the Parachute Regiment flag on his way to Dublin
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A postman who flew a Parachute Regiment flag on his way to Northern Ireland's match with the Republic of Ireland has been suspended from his job with Royal Mail.

Paul Harding (41) was pictured with the banner at a roadside service station on the way to last Thursday night's goalless draw at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

He was on a mini-coach of Northern Ireland fans that travelled from east Belfast to the match, and was seen getting off the vehicle and waving a purple Parachute Regiment flag at Republic supporters.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman has confirmed that Harding has been suspended until a full investigation has taken place.

His behaviour was condemned as provocative by nationalists as inquests into the 1971 Ballymurphy Massacre, when 11 civilians were killed by the Parachute Regiment, opened last week.

The Army unit was also responsible for shooting dead 14 innocent civilians in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

In 2005 Harding was given a suspended jail sentence for rioting at a Glentoran v Linfield game.

Northern Ireland's match in Dublin was marred by both sets of fans booing the national anthems. Tanaiste Simon Coveney described those engaged in the booing as "idiots".

A Royal Mail spokeswoman confirmed Harding's suspension.

"The individual concerned in this case is suspended from duty until our investigation is completed and we won't comment further until then," she said.

Belfast Telegraph


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