Belfast Telegraph

General Election: DUP 'unaware' of anti-Finucane banners in Belfast

Sinn Fein’s John Finucane
Sinn Fein’s John Finucane
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

The DUP has said it is "unaware" of banners erected in loyalist areas of Belfast attacking Sinn Fein general election candidate John Finucane and his family.

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The DUP told the Belfast Telegraph it condemns violence or anyone inciting hatred and challenged Sinn Fein to condemn those behind IRA murders in North Belfast during the Troubles.

A number of banners have been put up in loyalist areas in Belfast attacking Mr Finucane and members of his family, including his late father Pat, who was murdered by the UDA in 1989.

The PSNI said they have received reports about banners erected in north and south Belfast and that enquiries are underway to establish if any criminal offences, including a hate incident or hate crime, have been committed. 

The DUP said it was unaware of the banners.

Over the weekend images of the banner and those who put it up were shared throughout social media with many Sinn Fein members calling on the DUP to respond.

Sinn Fein MLA and policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly called on the police to remove the banners.

“Both John Finucane and Sinn Fein have reported these vile and scurrilous banners to the PSNI as hate crimes," he said.

“The banners inciting people to hatred should be removed immediately and those responsible should be prosecuted.

“These banners have been erected against a backdrop of threats from loyalist paramilitaries against the UUP, Sinn Fein posters being taken down by masked men and the deafening silence of the DUP.

“The attacks on John Finucane are an attack on the wider democratic process.

“The DUP must break its silence on these attacks, defend the democratic process and support the police in taking action against those responsible.”

A DUP spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are unaware of the matter. If it has been reported to the police then anyone with information should help their inquiries. The DUP consistently condemns violence or anyone inciting hatred.

"Will Sinn Fein now condemn those behind the many PIRA murders in North Belfast?"

Mr Finucane, who is Lord Mayor of Belfast, is hoping to unseat DUP MP Nigel Dodds in North Belfast in the upcoming General Election.

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