Paramilitary flag seen in new soccer strip

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The daughter of a loyalist murder victim has called for a Belfast soccer club to withdraw a new kit which has the same colours and a similar design to the flag used by the paramilitary group which killed her father.

Linfield FC has a large loyalist and unionist fan base across the north and a long-standing reputation for sectarianism. It revealed the new purple kit, which includes a diagonal orange sash, for the 2020/21 season earlier this week.

It echoes the flag of the UVF, which was responsible for the sectarian murder of hundreds of innocent Catholics during the recent conflict.

The UVF flag is purple with the letters U.V.F printed diagonally in orange. The flags are commonly erected on lampposts each summer as well as other sectarian symbols and flags.

Aontú councillor Denise Mullen described the kit as “totally offensive”.

Her father Denis was shot dead by the notorious Glenanne Gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF, in September 1975 at their family home in County Tyrone.

“I would call in the club to withdraw that jersey,” she said. “I actually thought it was a joke but now I realise it is not a joke.”

She she has been contacted by the loved ones of other people killed by the UVF. “They have been contacting me with their disbelief and heartache it has caused them,” she said.

BONFIRE THREAT

Meanwhile, graffiti warning against attempts to remove a bonfire has been daubed close to where pallets are being stored in a loyalist area of north Belfast.

Stacks of wooden pallets have been collected on a site in Tigers Bay behind a business park.

The pallets are close to the Duncairn Gardens interface, where graffiti has been scrawled warning against removing a bonfire.

The graffiti in black lettering reads: “If this boney (bonfire) goes so does NLR,” a reference to the mainly nationalist New Lodge Road area.

Sprayed in lighter paint beside this is ‘KAT’, the sectarian threat meaning ‘Kill All Taigs (Catholics)’.

Last week several loyalist bonfire sites in east Belfast were cleared following the cancellation of Eleventh Night events due to the coronavirus.

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