Father of UVF murder victim calls on police to remove ‘paramilitary flags’

Calling for the removal of paramilitary flags: Raymond McCord.
Calling for the removal of paramilitary flags: Raymond McCord.

A NEWTOWNABBEY man whose son was murdered by the UVF almost 15 years ago has called on the PSNI to remove ‘paramilitary flags’ which are being flown from lampposts across the borough.

Raymond McCord, whose 22-year-old son Raymond Jnr was beaten to death by a UVF gang at Ballyduff Quarry in November 1997, said that he has been contacted by a number of people who want to see UDA, UVF and YCV flags taken down.

Last month, local Progressive Unionist Party representative Phil Hamilton denied that the UVF and YCV flags erected around the borough represent outlawed paramilitary organisations. He claimed that the contentious flags are ‘historic’ colours paying tribute to men from all over Ireland who fought in the First World War.

Branding the flags “paramilitary banners”, Mr McCord said that he would be happy to debate the legitimacy of the flags with the PUP representative.

“The people of Newtownabbey don’t want to see paramilitary flags flying - and that’s not just people from the nationalist community, that’s the unionist community as well.

“There should be no paramilitary flags flying along our main roads, or anywhere for that matter, and the police should be taking action to get them taken down. What message do these flags send to visitors and tourists who come here? The presence of these flags does absolutely nothing for the unionist community.

“The unionist politicians were quick to kick up whenever the tricolours went up around Elmfield at Easter, so why are they not kicking up about paramilitary flags? The people of Newtownabbey are afraid to speak out about this, but I’m calling on the police to take action.”

Read the full story in this week’s Times...