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BBC is criticised for airing Shankill vigil with performance from loyalist UVF Regimental Band

Members of the UVF Regimental Band on BBC Newsline.

Garrett HarganBelfast Telegraph

Criticism has been directed at the BBC for broadcasting a vigil from the Shankill Road where a band openly displayed items with the name of loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The BBC report said the Shankill Road “came to a complete stop as together a community remembered its Queen of 70 years”.

As flute music played in the background, it said: “They gathered beside the Platinum Jubilee mural and a sea of floral tributes. They paid their respects, each in their own way.”

The community couldn’t be in London, the report said, but they could attend a vigil at home and that’s why it was so important to them.

However, during the piece a loyalist band can be clearly seen displaying emblems that say “Ulster Volunteer Force Regimental Band” complete with UVF insignia and its motto ‘For God and Ulster’.

According to their Twitter page, the UVF Regimental Band from east Belfast was founded in 1969.

On Facebook, the band posted: “We had the honour tonight to play at the service of thanksgiving for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll on the Shankill Road. A very moving service.”

The Sunday Life recently reported that the UVF Regimental Band East Belfast took part in the Brian Robinson Memorial Parade.

The UVF gunman was shot dead by undercover soldiers on the Crumlin Road in September 1989, minutes after he was witnessed murdering Catholic Paddy McKenna at the Ardoyne shops.

The paramilitary gang honours him on the first weekend of September every year with a huge parade organised by its B Company unit.

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Volunteer Force murdered more than 500 people.

The loyalist paramilitary group's campaign also claimed the lives of 33 people in bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

The UVF was formed in 1966 to combat what it saw as a rise in Irish nationalism centred on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

It adopted the name and symbols of the original UVF, the movement founded in 1912 by Sir Edward Carson to fight against Home Rule.

Many UVF men joined the 36th Ulster Division of the British Army and died in large numbers during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

In more recent times the PSNI has linked the UVF to drugs criminality.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

The UVF Regimental Band does not display contact information on its social media accounts.

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