SF condemn Parachute Regiment flags 'glorifying Bloody Sunday'
Cookstown Sinn Féin John McNamee has condemned the weekend erection of Parachute Regiment flags in the town centre "that glorify the Bloody Sunday massacre."
Councillor McNamee said he has received a large number of complaints since these flags went up over the weekend.
"While I’m aware that similar flags have been erected elsewhere those erected in Cookstown have a more sinister message on them," he said.
"The flags I have seen have the message ‘Londonderry 1972 No Surrender’ emblazoned on them which is an obvious reference to the Bloody Sunday Massacre carried out by the Parachute regiment in Derry on January 30 1972.
"This is a deliberate act to cause further distress to the families of those murdered on that day and a pathetic attempt to glorify what is internationally recognised as a war crime.
"The ‘Paras’ have an unsavoury reputation in the north, this has been demonstrated further with the ongoing inquests which have highlighted their murderous actions in the Ballymurphy massacre.
"Those who erected these flags have committed a blatant hate crime and I am calling for their immediate removal. I am also calling on the PSNI to investigate those responsible for this hate crime as these flags were erected in full view of the town’s CCTV cameras”.
Councillor McNamee said flags will always be contentious but most organisations erect them and remove them when their relevant cultural events have concluded.
"These flags have no cultural significance so they should be removed without delay before they cause any further anguish. As this is a serious breach of the peace I am calling on the PSNI to work with the relevant agencies namely Mid Ulster Council and the Department for Infrastructure to ensure that these offensive flags are removed immediately," he said.