Easter lilies in Magherafelt council not a criminal offence say PSNI

Box containing Easter lilies in Magherafelt Council lobby.
Box containing Easter lilies in Magherafelt Council lobby.

The display of Easter lilies in Magherafelt District Council’s offices, along with a collection box for ‘Ireland’s patriot dead’, is not a criminal offence, a PSNI spokesman said last night.

He confirmed: “At this time no criminal offence has been found.”

UUP MLA Sandra Overend yesterday demanded the immediate removal of the collection box and said she had “written to the council’s chief executive asking for a full explanation”.

She accused Sinn Fein of attempting to “rewrite their sordid history”.

On Wednesday, Sinn Fein councillor Sean McPeake said: “There is a box in the reception for members of the public to take Easter lilies. There is no purchase.”

Meanwhile the TUV has attacked the DUP over its response to the controversy,

Gareth Ferguson, the TUV candidate for the Mid Ulster super council said: “I was shocked to read the comments of DUP councillor Anne Forde in today’s Irish News where she said she has ‘no issue’ with a display of Easter lilies and a box marked ‘Honour Ireland’s Patriot Dead Wear an Easter Lilly’

“To add insult to injury Anne Forde went on to compare Republican Easter lilies to Remembrance Poppies saying: “It would be different if they said there would be no poppy”.

“Councillor Forde clearly believes that a parallel can be drawn between a display of poppies in the run up to Remembrance Sunday and Republican Easter lilies.”

Mr Ferguson added: “If Mrs Forde professes to be any sort of Unionist she needs to withdraw her comments immediately. It is also incumbent upon her party to clarify their position on terror displays like this.”