Disgust at Magherafelt republican ‘merchandise’ available online

TEDDY bears, underwear and hats bearing the symbol of a Magherafelt republican group have been slammed as ‘disgusting’ by a Mid Ulster MLA.

The merchandise, available to buy online, bear the symbol of Killowen Young Republicans (KYR), a group which styles itself as “non sectarian” and “protects the Republican communities from the PSNI, hoods and most of all loyalists”.

A range of badges, hats, T-shirts and even maternity wear promoting the group, are available on the site which was last week slammed by DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson for selling similar goods promoting dissident republican faction Oglaigh na hEireann.

Speaking to the MAIL, Mr McCrea said he would be calling for the website, which allows registered users to create their own merchandise, to take down the “offensive” products.

“It is an absolute disgrace that anyone would agree to have this type of merchandise available to freely buy online,” the Mid Ulster Assembly man said.

“I will be emailing the administrators of this site and asking them to immediately remove this material, as it is not only offensive, but is being used to promote a republican agenda.”

He continued: “Money from the sale of these items goes to whoever decided to create them, which is worrying.

“Just looking at the social networking page created in the name of this group shows what type of activity it is promoting.”

The KYR Bebo page, which has been inactive for sometime, was criticised in the past over sectarian exchanges made by those visiting the page. The site also displays photographs taken of a “show of strength” which shows KYR members in the Killowen estate wearing balaclavas and military gear with flags used on the branding of merchandise available to buy on the internet site.

Mr McCrea continued: “It is also disturbing that this republican merchandise includes teddy bears. To hand a child a teddy bear with a KYR symbol as a potential first present to a child is disgusting and disturbing. We are supposed to be living in a shared society but this type of promotion goes against that.”