Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Shankill loyalists refuse to erect Soldier F banners

Sandy Row stands with Soldier F banner
Sandy Row stands with Soldier F banner
The banner was put up in Portadown town centre on Tuesday night
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Loyalists in the Shankill Road area of Belfast have refused to erect 'I stand with Soldier F banners' as they don't want to offend the families of four local men killed by the army, it has been claimed.

Banners and Parachute Regiment flags pledging support for Soldier F have been appearing in loyalist areas all over Northern Ireland following the decision to prosecute the veteran for allegedly murdering two people during Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Londonderry in 1972.

Last week republican youths tore one down in Lurgan and set it on fire. But some loyalists are also concerned.

The Sunday Life reported that UVF sources on the Shankill say support for Soldier F is massive, but putting the flags up would be a "step too far".

One commented: "There were four people from this community who were killed by the army during the Troubles.

"These are killings that a lot of loyalists living here are reluctant to face because they were carried out by soldiers who were supposed to be protecting us.

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Alexander Howell

"What is important is to not allow their names or the circumstances of their deaths to be forgotten."

Among loyalists shot dead in Belfast by British troops was UVF assassin Brian Robinson (27), killed by undercover soldiers in 1989 just minutes after he murdered Catholic Paddy McKenna on the Crumlin Road.

Richie McKinney (49) and Robert Johnston (50) were both killed by the Parachute Regiment on the same night in September 1972.

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Robert Richie McKinnie

The unit that carried out the killing included Soldier F. It had also been involved in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 during which 11 people died and Bloody Sunday which resulted in 14 deaths.

In 1973, Alexander 'Minto' Howell from the Shankill (36) was shot dead by a member of the Queen's Own Highlanders after a disturbance at the Bayardo Bar. This in turn led to loyalist paramilitaries rioting and firing shots at troops on Agnes Street.

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Alexander Howell

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