Tension in Lurgan after memorials attacked

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A plea for calm has been made following a spate of attacks on republican murals and monuments in north Armagh. A memorial erected to commemorate the anniversary of the Easter Rising was also attacked.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Keith Haughian condemned the paint bomb attacks. “The paint bomb attack on a monument and mural in the Kilwilike area is wrong and causes hurt to the loved ones of those honoured by them. I call for calm and for no one to do anything which could raise tensions any further.”

It follows the removal of a banner in support of ‘Soldier F’ which had been erected illegally across Lurgan town centre. The banner was erected by loyalists to show support for a British soldier facing prosecution as a result of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre.

Photographs later emerged of masked men setting the banner alight. The PSNI controversially described the removal of the illegal banner as a sectarian hate incident, but have made no comment in regard to the attack on the murals.

Sinn Féin’s calls last month for the PSNI to remove the Soldier F banner had been ignored. At the time, the party representative for Lurgan, Sorcha McGeown, said the banner was causing “community division”.

“The banner proclaiming support for a murder suspect is not appropriate,” she said. “The victims of Bloody Sunday deserve the truth just as much as any victim of the conflict.”

One person has now been arrested in connection with its removal. Hardline unionist representative Carla Lockhart praised the PSNI for acting “quickly and efficiently” to make an arrest and called for the illegal banner to be replaced.

“Removing this banner is a hate crime and I am pleased that the PSNI are treating it with the seriousness it deserves,” she said.

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