UUP ‘Tricolour’ flower arrangement sparks row

The 'Stormont' model which was put on display at the weekend at St John's Church Moneymore. It was part sponsored by UUP MLA Sandra Overend and 'offended' some festival goers as it included a Tricolour flag.
The 'Stormont' model which was put on display at the weekend at St John's Church Moneymore. It was part sponsored by UUP MLA Sandra Overend and 'offended' some festival goers as it included a Tricolour flag.
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A FESTIVAL flower arrangement sponsored by a UUP MLA has sparked a political row after it included a miniature model of Stormont ‘flying’ a Tricolour, the MAIL has learned.

But Ulster Unionist representative Sandra Overend has said she had no idea her name was allocated to the pretty flower arrangement on display at a flower festival at St John’s Church, Moneymore at the weekend. The ‘Stormont’ display also included lilies and other green, white and orange flowers alongside red, white and blue flora.

The arrangement was one of a number of floral arrangements at the three-day festival celebrating 180 years of the church and “giving thanks for the beauty of Ulster”.

The arrangement offended some in the community who visited the popular event, according to DUP MLA Ian McCrea. Mr McCrea said he has received a number of complaints about the Tricolour, ‘flown’ beside a Union flag on the miniature replica model of the government buildings.

He told the MAIL: “There are plenty of unhappy people, who after visiting the event, left grossly offended by what they had seen, and what was apparently sponsored by a UUP MLA.

“These people have been told that Sandra wasn’t aware that the display included Stormont flying a Tricolour flag, but I find it hard to believe that something which is sponsored by anyone goes out without them having knowledge of what it looks like.

“I sponsor a sign at Coagh United and that sign does not go up without me seeing what is on it.”

He continued: “It might seem sensible to fly a Tricolour of a flower arrangement of Stormont, but whether Sandra likes it or not, one won’t be flying over the real thing.”

Speaking to the MAIL Sandra, who gave a donation towards the Church for the flower festival some time ago, said she was completely unaware of the display.

Sandra said: “A number of weeks ago I was asked for a donation towards the flower festival, which I did and I was more than happy to.

“It was surprising when I found that the display, which I wasn’t aware my name had been allocated to, was flying a Tricolour.

Sandra concluded: “The flying of a Tricolour inside church walls is not something I approve of and I was very surprised on Sunday when I attended the church and saw the arrangement.”