Belfast Telegraph

PSNI officers 'did not intervene' when masked man put up Soldier F banner in Armagh, claims Sinn Fein MP

A similar banner was put up in Portadown town centre earlier this year.
A similar banner was put up in Portadown town centre earlier this year.
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

PSNI officers did not intervene when a masked man put up a controversial banner in Armagh city centre supporting an ex-British soldier facing murder charges over Bloody Sunday, a Sinn Fein MP has claimed.

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said a masked man put up the Soldier F banner "in broad daylight" and claimed that PSNI officers were "nearby" at the time and did not intervene.

He said: "It is wrong that this banner has been erected in Armagh city centre in the first instance but it is absolutely unacceptable that the PSNI stood by at the bottom of the ladder and watched while a masked man put it up.

"Incidents like this do nothing to support efforts to build community confidence in the PSNI.

"I have called for an urgent meeting with the PSNI over this and will be challenging them to explain why police officers stood by and watched while a masked man was in the city centre in broad daylight."

Chief Inspector Barney O'Connor told the Belfast Telegraph: "Police received a report of a banner erected at the Gaol Square area of Armagh yesterday evening (Thursday 13th June).

"Upon arrival of police, a number of people were spoken to. One person was wearing a scarf over their face.

"As part of our enquiries, police will review body worn footage taken by an officer in attendance."

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded when members of the Parachute regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry's Bogside on January 30, 1972. A 14th person died in hospital.

One soldier, known as "Soldier F", is facing prosecution for the killing of two men on the day and attempted murder of four others.

Since the announcement, Parachute Regiment flags and banners in support of Soldier F have appeared across Northern Ireland, erected by those who feel British soldiers are being unfairly investigated for their actions during the Troubles.

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