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Northern Ireland

Council denies letting flowers die under loyalist murderer poster

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The hanging basket in Moygashel
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A council has denied deliberately leaving plants hanging under a banner glorifying a UVF killer to die.

The wilted flowers were replaced by Mid Ulster District Council after complaints from residents in Moygashel.

"It would seem that some of the council's flowerpot men do not approve of certain loyalist signs in the village and have purposefully decided not to water this hanging basket," one resident told the Tyrone Courier.

"Questions must be asked of Mid Ulster District Council about why this has been allowed to happen and a full explanation given."

The banner features an image of Wesley Somerville, the UVF crest and an image of a the terror group's flag.

It also bears an image of two masked gunmen with the words 'Mid Ulster Brigade' .

Somerville died alongside fellow UVF man Harris Boyle when a bomb they were planting on the Miami Showband's tour bus exploded prematurely near Banbridge in 1975. Three musicians were shot dead following the explosion.

The disgruntled resident accused the council of deliberately discriminating against unionist communities by any means possible.

They also alleged that when a council worker was approached about the withered flowers, they muttered and drove off.

"This basket must be replaced and the individual responsible for watering should not be permitted to decide which plants to water," they added. "This council is making certain unionist communities believe that this is now a cold house for Protestants."

Somerville is also suspected of being part of a gang that shot dead Patrick Falls (45) in Aughamullan, near Coalisland, in 1974.

Earlier this year, Mr Falls' sons, Brian and Aidan, branded the erection of the banner, which has caused "distress" to their family, a hate crime and criticised police for failing to act.

Wesley's brother, John James Somerville, was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the murder of Patrick Falls.

A council spokesperson dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

"The location of this particular hanging basket, outside a shop, has caused access issues during the weekly watering cycle because of parked cars and this has resulted in limited watering," they said.

"While we have replaced the basket in the interim, its location and maintenance issues will be reviewed ahead of the 2020 season to avoid a repeat occurrence."

Belfast Telegraph

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The hanging basket in Moygashel