Traditional Unionist Voice Mid Ulster representative Walter Millar has hit out at the controversy surrounding the Billy Wright poster in Dungannon.
Mr Millar said the poster - which has now been removed - had caused “an unwarranted amount of press coverage”, pointing out that it was not on a main public route but in a cul-de-sac in a loyalist estate.
“Unless an individual drove in to see where this poster was erected they could not have saw it,” he claimed.
He said that while he fully understood the wording on the banner would have caused offence and hurt to those bereaved families, but this is not the first, or indeed, the last incident which will cause offence to many victims of terrorism.
Mr Millar said there were as many examples of similar displays “glorifying acts of terrorism” not highlighted and reported to the PSNI as potential hate crime by those in the Unionist community, who know full well that nothing would be done.
Referring to the publicity about today’s 35th anniversary commemoration in Bellaghy for IRA volunteer Thomas McElwee, who died on hunger strike, the TUV man said Sinn Féin MLA Ian Milne had not stated that Thomas McElwee was convicted and served a jail sentence for the murder of Yvonne Dunlop, a 26-year-old Protestant woman, who burned to death as a result of an IRA firebomb in Ballymena on October 9 1976.
“The court records show that Billy Wright for all the activities he allegedly was connected to was never convicted for the murder of anyone,” he said.
Mr Millar said he would not be making reference to the Bellaghy commemoration only that he was tired of listening to the endless news regarding a Billy Wright poster in Dungannon and wanted to highlight the inconsistency of those complaining about this.”
He added: “I would not waste police time whinging about such commemorations or memorials to IRA members as Mid Ulster and Northern Ireland will always have such commemorations for both Republicans and Loyalists.”