Last week the banner which was placed above on of the entrances into the Glebeside estate in Ballymoney several weeks ago, was replace after it had become damaged. During its replacement, officers of the PSNI arrived after receiving a complain about its erection. Despite their presence the banner was allowed to be replace, with police offices only observing.
Later that evening North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan called the banner ‘controversial’ and that it was ‘clearly intimidatory and offensive’. The MLA also voiced his concern as to why police took no action.
DUP Alderman John Finlay has since signalled his full support for the erection of a banner in Ballymoney supporting soldier F, and has accused Sinn Fein’s Philip McGuigan of hypocrisy.
Speaking to the Ballymoney Bubble Alderman Finlay said;
“During three decades of ruthless terrorism, directed and driven largely by the Provisional IRA, our gallant security forces stood between us and those determined to destroy us. As well as the RUC and the UDR, the British Army paid a high price, with many hundreds of soldiers murdered and others maimed for life.
That is the reality of what happened, and the pathetic efforts by Sinn Fein to re-write history simply will not wash. Our soldiers are heroes whilst those who murdered them are terrorists.
I therefore warmly welcome the banner erected in Ballymoney in support of soldier F. Not only is he innocent until proven guilty, but it is a disgrace that he is being hounded after all these years when so many IRA terrorists were released under the Belfast Agreement or given letters of immunity from prosecution.
It therefore ill-becomes Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan to express concern about the soldier F banner in Ballymoney. He says, without a hint of irony, that “it is clearly intimidatory and offensive, particularly to those who have lost loved ones as a result of state violence”. Such utter hypocrisy! What about those who have lost loved ones as a result of IRA violence? Has Mr McGuigan ever expressed concern about the many posters and flags which appear regularly in places such as Rasharkin in support of republican terrorists? Has he condemned the naming of a children’s play park after an IRA hunger striker?
I will take no lessons from Mr McGuigan or any other Sinn Fein representatives about respect for the victims of the Troubles.
Meanwhile, I call on the British Government to end this witch-hunt against members of our security forces. There must be a level playing field. If there is to be an amnesty for terrorists, there must surely be an amnesty for our soldiers and police officers. I support soldier F.”
DUP’s Mervyn Storey, also an MLA for the area, has indicated that he plans to ask for a meeting with the Social Security office in Ballymoney after a picture emerged of the banners erection, that appears to have been taken from their grounds and possibly by a member of it’s staff.