Outrage as sinister UVF flags fly over graves of innocent victims in Co Antrim
Laid to rest there is Gavin Brett, brother of DUP’s Phillip Brett, who was shot dead aged 18 as he stood with a group of Catholic friends in 2001
There have been demands for those who put up menacing loyalist flags on lamp posts outside a cross-community cemetery to take them down immediately.
The flags bearing a slogan used by the Mount Vernon UVF unit in north Belfast appeared outside Carnmoney graveyard in recent days.
Last night one local councillor condemned the move, saying they should be removed either by those who put them up or the Department for Infrastructure.
The flags show the eyes of a man wearing a balaclava above the words “Prepared for Peace Ready for War”, a line which also appears on a long-standing UVF mural in the Mount Vernon estate.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Sinn Fein councillor Michael Goodman said: “Quite simply, there shouldn’t be flags of any kind outside the cemetery. It’s totally inappropriate.
“There are far too many flags in Newtownabbey as it is.
“I would call on those who erected them to take them back down.
“I will be contacting the Department for Infrastructure and other authorities to take action.
“I would also call on local unionist representatives to speak out against it and to advise those responsible to think again about what they have done.
“I hope there will be a positive response from others in the area to deal with the situation.”
The cemetery is managed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and is open to burials of the dead from all faiths and none.
It is also the final resting place for many people murdered by loyalists during the Troubles, including victims of the Mount Vernon UVF, which was once led by the killer double agents Mark Haddock and Gary Haggarty.
Raymond McCord Jnr (22), who was beaten to death by the Mount Vernon UVF before his body was dumped at a quarry outside north Belfast in November 1997, is buried in the graveyard.
Another UVF victim whose grave is in the cemetery is John Harbinson who was beaten to death by the same UVF gang in 1997, as is that of high profile UDA boss Tommy English who was killed during a feud with the UVF in 2000.
Also laid to rest there is Gavin Brett, the brother of DUP MLA Phillip Brett, who was shot dead aged 18 by the UDA in Glengormley as he stood with a group of Catholic friends in August 2001.
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