Wednesday 18 September 2019

Republican snowman image branded 'obscene'

The snowman window display
The snowman window display

Suzanne Breen

Dissident republicans are displaying Santa armed with a rocket launcher and the message 'Wishing you an explosive Christmas' in the window of their Derry headquarters.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell described it as "a highly offensive display which will be condemned by all right-thinking people".

Anti-agreement republicans yesterday completed the painting in the window of Junior McDaid House, where the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association is based.

The building also houses the dissident republican political party Saoradh and the youth group Eistigi Doire. It is named after IRA member James 'Junior' McDaid, who was shot dead by the British Army in 1972.

Mr Campbell said the image of Santa with an RPG would cause great offence.

"Most people look on Christmas as a family time and republicans are equating it with terrorism," he said.

"An image of Santa with a rocket launcher to mark the season of peace and goodwill borders on the obscene.

"Terrorism has already caused enough heartache in Northern Ireland without these people compounding the hurt."

The East Londonderry MP said the painting would be "considered as propaganda by those behind it and their supporters, but I believe it will be seen in a poor light by everyone else".

He said the display was following "in a long line of paramilitary-type emblems on republican Christmas cards and calendars".

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