United-Kingdom

Dissident republican window mural showing snowman pressing bomb trigger and ‘they haven’t gone away’ phrase condemned by DUP

The DUP has condemned a Christmas-themed window display in the offices of the dissident-linked Saoradh group that shows a snowman pressing a bomb.

The photo at Junior McDaid House in Londonderry was accompanied by the words “They don’t go away you know” – a reference to the well-known temporary IRA phrase used in the past.

Onscreen is the snowman in the picture, dressed in traditional Republican attire and Father Christmas appears to be holding a walkie-talkie.

Foyle MLA Gary Middleton of the DUP said the offer was “under contempt” and said he had asked the PSNI to investigate.

PSNI has confirmed that it is “making inquiries”.

“It’s hard to find words to describe this display in Saoradh’s office window,” he said.

“Using Christmas as a propaganda tool for terrorism is contemptuous and an insult to the victims and the wider community.

I’ve asked the police to investigate, but it needs to be removed immediately. To show something that appears to be a bolt being pressed is sickening, given the current and past terror that has ravaged our city and Northern Ireland as a whole.

“There is clearly a need for condemnation of such images from across society.

However, it must also be accompanied by the realization that the sterilization of terrorism and attempts to justify it in the past embolden those who engage in it today.

“The fact that the dissidents were copying the same tactics and strategies as the Provisional IRA can be seen by the use of ‘They haven’t gone you know’ on the window”.

This isn’t the first time the window has caused controversy, as similar outrage was expressed in 2019 when Father Christmas was photographed brandishing an AK-47.

In 2018, the window showed the Grinch dressed as a PSNI, with a Nazi symbol on his shoulder, and using a battering ram to get into the house.

“We have been contacted about this matter and are making inquiries,” PSNI Inspector Moyne said in a statement.

It comes on the same day that the Republican splinter group the New IRA claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a police car in Strapany, Co Teron.

Two officers were out on patrol Thursday of last week in Mount Carmel Heights when a bomb exploded on the side of their vehicle.

Neither officer was injured in the attack, which caused a major security alert in the area, affecting more than 1,000 residents and leaving some children unable to go to school on Friday.

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