Portadown banner supporting Soldier F must be removed, says Sinn Fein

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A banner supporting Soldier F, who is facing murder charges linked to Bloody Sunday, must be removed immediately, says Sinn Fein.

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd called on authorities to remove the banner, which stretches across Portadown town centre, which he said, ‘is designed to cause hurt to the victims of Bloody Sunday and cause community division’.

Mr O’Dowd said: “The banner proclaiming support for a murder suspect is not appropriate.

“The victims of Bloody Sunday deserve the truth just as much as any victim of the conflict.

“The banner should be removed immediately.”

The soldier faces murder charges over the killing of two people on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

The Public Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to prosecute Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

The single prosecution is seen as a ‘terrible disappointment’ by some of the families of the 13 people killed at a civil rights march..

DUP Cllr Darryn Causby said: “John O’Dowd is very quick to seek the removal of flags and symbols representing the Unionist community but consistently remains silent on illegal monuments to IRA terrorist and Irish Tricolours adorning lamp post across his constituency, his comments are nothing short of rank hypocrisy.”

“John O’Dowd and SF have a brass neck talking about victims, given that the IRA created more victims in this country than anyone else, so the people of Portadown and whoever erected this banner will take no lectures from those who consistently attempt to justify murder and eulogise the IRA murderers.

“To whoever erected the banner I very simply say ‘well done’”

Independent Cllr David Jones said: “Sadly, it is once again no surprise that John O’Dowd seeks publicity prior to an election with his comments on this banner.

“Most people will measure his words against the backdrop of the military wing of SF which for 30 years inflicted the worst crimes of murder and injury on the population; and yet no apology from him or his party to the victims and their families.

“I give my full support to the members of the security forces who with stood the worst of this violence and I would condemn the actions of the Government in bringing these charges. That is despicable and must be over turned with out further delay and stress to security force members.

“As an MLA John O’Dowd would do well to concentrate on his Party’s actions at Stormont and the pain and distress they are causing to the elderly and sick concerning our current health service problems instead of seeking this shameless publicity.”