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Saturday 16 December 2017

Argos criticised over distribution of UDA T-shirts

One of the offending T-shirts
One of the offending T-shirts

Deborah McAleese

High street chain Argos has been accused of glorifying terrorism by helping to distribute loyalist paramilitary T-shirts.

Argos was the agreed collection point for eBay orders of T-shirts emblazoned with UDA/UFF and UVF slogans.

One of the offending T-shirts featured a red clenched fist surrounded by barbed wire, along with the slogan: 'Simply the best, UFF/UDA POW, their only crime loyalty'.

Similar shirts were often worn by former loyalist terror boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair and his supporters.

In 2000, Adair, 50 supporters and his Alsatian dog sported identical Ulster Freedom Fighter T-shirts bearing the slogan 'Simply the Best' at a terrorist show of strength, at which shots were fired to demonstrate "support for the Orangemen at Drumcree".

Another T-shirt from the same eBay seller was emblazoned with 'Ulster Volunteer Force, UVF, For God and Ulster, Long Kesh Battalion'.

The T-shirts were immediately removed from eBay's marketplace yesterday after concerns were raised. eBay said it does not allow the sale "of items promoting or commemorating hatred and violence".

Until yesterday afternoon the T-shirts were being sold on eBay and, once purchased, could be collected at Argos stores throughout Northern Ireland. Revelations of Argos's role in the distribution of the T-shirts left victims of UDA/UFF violence "hurt and outraged".

Innocent Victims United (IVU) accused Argos of being complicit in the glorification of terrorism. The UDA/UFF was responsible for more than 400 deaths. One of the UFF's worst acts of violence was on Halloween in 1993, when gunmen walked into the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel and opened fire, killing six men and two women. When concerns over the T-shirt were raised with Argos the chain immediately contacted eBay who removed the T-shirts from its marketplace.

Irish Independent

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