Magherafelt Sinn Fein councillor says Easter lilies will not be removed

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

Sinn Fein have rejected unionist calls to remove Easter lilies honouring Irish Republicans from the lobby of Magherafelt District Council offices.

Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer is among those calling for the lilies - contained in a box marked ‘Honour Ireland’s Patriot Dead Wear an Easter Lilly’ - at the council reception area.

Mr Frazer told the MAIL: “I could understand this if they were in a Sinn Fein advice centre but we are in a publicly funded building used by all sections of the community, including the victims of these so called patriots.”

Cookstown Ulster Unionist Councillor Robert Kelly also called for the lilies to be removed, describing them as offensive to the people in Mid-Ulster who lost loved ones “at the hands of Republicans.”

But Sinn Fein councillor Brian McGuigan said the lilies would not be removed until after Republicans “honour their war dead” over Easter.

He said they had no problem with British Legion poppies being left in the lobby each November and the Easter lily “was no different.”

“We do not intend to rub unionist noses in it but the Easter lily is there to honour our dead and will remain there as of right,” he stressed.

Councillor McGuigan added that there was no money being collected and the Easter lilies had been placed in the council lobby for at least the past three years.