Miami Showband survivor offers to meet loyalist cultural group

August 8, 2016

A survivor of the Miami Showband massacre has offered to meet those responsible for erecting a banner in Moygashel glorifying one of the killers involved in the atrocity.

UVF killer Wesley Somerville died alongside fellow loyalist Harris Boyle as they placed a bomb on the minibus the Miami Showband were travelling in near Banbridge on the night of July 31st, 1975. After the bomb exploded, the UVF gang, which also included members of the UDR, shot and killed band members Fran O’Toole, Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy and wounded two others.

Stephen Travers survived the bomb blast and shootings and is heavily involved in campaigns for reconciliation in the north, having formed a group along with several other victims and campaigners, known as the Truth and Reconciliation Platform.

Mr Travers spoke out after a banner in memory of Wesley Somerville was recently erected on a lamp post in the County Tyrone town of Moygashel. The tribute was placed alongside a separate banner depicting two armed and masked men and emblazoned with the words: “Mid Ulster Brigade UVF, Moygashel. In memory of our fallen volunteers.”

The banners have been sponsored by the Moygashel Cultural Group, who Mr Travers said he would like to meet “to try to understand why they continue to honour someone who disgraced unionism/loyalism.”

“I invite The Moygashel Cultural Group, along with members of the Moygashel community, to speak at one of our Truth and Reconciliation Platform events as soon as possible so that we can better understand each other,” he said.

Responding to concerns raised about the offending banners, Chief Inspector Roy Robinson said,

“We are aware of the erection of these signs in the Moygashel area.

“At this time no crime has been disclosed however we are very aware of the sensitivity of these signs and will keep the situation under review.”