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'We've no problem with LVF chief or IRA hunger striker as long as price is right'


Playground: Raymond McCreesh

Playground: Raymond McCreesh

Notorious: Billy Wright

Notorious: Billy Wright

Playground: Raymond McCreesh

Be it loyalist or republican material, the printing firms of Northern Ireland will produce it - all for the right price.

The Belfast Telegraph contacted several printers in County Armagh. First, we asked firms in Newry for a quote for leaflets and if they would have a problem printing material about IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

"Not at all," laughed one firm.

While another said it "couldn't see a problem with it".

McCreesh died on hunger strike in 1981.

He was jailed for attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and IRA membership.

A children's play park named in his honour has dominated the headlines recently with moves made to strip it of the McCreesh name.

We also contacted printers in Craigavon about printing a leaflet about the notorious loyalist Billy Wright. Again, every printing firm we contacted was happy to give a quote for material featuring Wright.

"There wouldn't be a problem with that," said one company.

Wright founded the LVF after he was expelled from the UVF. He was thought to be behind 20 brutal sectarian murders.

Later, we contacted those firms who provided a price and asked them why they were willing to carry out such work.

"Why wouldn't we?" said one company owner. "We are a commercial printers, we are neutral and, as long as it doesn't break a law, we will print it."

Another said: "Money is money and that's that."

One Newry company said the quote was given by a junior member of staff who would have had "no idea" who McCreesh was.

Another company said it would not discriminate against any order.

"You have to draw the line at something and, as long as it is not inflammatory, sectarian, racist, pornographic, obscene or breaks the law, we would not have a problem," said one of its designers.

"We are neutral when it comes to all matters."

One company, however, did say we would get a better price if we looked closer to Belfast.

Meanwhile, a Drogheda-based printing firm defended its refusal to produce wedding invitations for a gay couple's civil partnership ceremony.

Beulah Print takes its name from the book of Isaiah in the Bible and which translates from Hebrew to mean 'married'.

The company refused to print invitations for its regular customer Jonathon Brennan, insisting it was not against homosexuals, but did not support same sex marriage. It said that, in its 12 years of business, it had always held its Christian beliefs and had never hidden its faith from customers.

"We, at Beulah Print, are Bible-believing Christians who are committed to standing by our conscience and God's Word.

"We believe the love of God extends to all people," a company spokesman commented.

The case bore similar resemblance to that of Ashers in Belfast, which refused to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it. The bakery - which is also named after a section in the bible - is the subject of legal action by the Equality Commission.

The Christian Institute, which is backing Ashers, called for the public's support in the form of donations for what it described as a 'David and Goliath' legal fight against the commission.

A bid by the DUP to introduce a so-called conscience clause into equality laws was launched in the wake of that legal action.

Stormont has yet to make a final decision on the clause.

Belfast Telegraph