'Soldier F' banner in Portadown town centre offensive and should be taken down: Jackson

A banner in Portadown proclaiming support for 'Soldier F'.
A banner in Portadown proclaiming support for 'Soldier F'.

A Derry councillor has called for the authorities to remove a banner from the centre of Portadown that proclaims support for a former British soldier who is set to face charges over his role on Bloody Sunday.

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson for the Waterside said a canvas bearing the slogan 'PORTADOWN STANDS WITH Soldier 'F' and flanked with the insignia of the British Army's Parachute Regiment, which was responsible for the murder of 14 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday, was deeply offensive.

He said whoever had stretched the banner across Church Street in the County Armagh town had intended to cause hurt to the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and wanted to cause community division.

He said: “The banner proclaiming support for a murder suspect is not appropriate.

“The victims of Bloody Sunday deserve the truth just as much as any victim of the conflict.

“The banner should be removed immediately.”

Last month the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced that just one former member of the British Parachute Regiment’s 1st Battallion, was to be prosecuted for his role in the events of January 30, 1972, in which 14 anti-internment marchers in Derry were gunned down.

The PPS confirmed that ‘Soldier F’ - an ex-lance corporal who was a member of 1 Para's anti-tank platoon on Bloody Sunday - was to be prosecuted for the murders of Jim Wray (22) and William McKinney (27).

He is also set to be prosecuted for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.