Tensions mount ahead of hunger strike commemoration in Dungiven

Tricolour beside Church of Ireland in Dungiven
Tricolour beside Church of Ireland in Dungiven

Tensions have been raised over a hunger strike commemoration in Dungiven this weekend.

DUP MP fGregory Campbell accused republicans of upping the ante in Dungiven after the town was bedecked with republican flags for a hunger strike commemoration this weekend.

He said a small number of flags including a tricolour and starry plough were “casting their shadow over the Church of Ireland graveyard and church grounds in the town”.

“The erection of flags in close proximity to the Church of Ireland’s property will be seen as a deliberate attempt to intimidate the minority Protestant population in Dungiven and the surrounding area.

“The analogy of what would have happened if there had been a reversal of this scenario is all too obvious. If for example an overwhelmingly Unionist town which had a small Roman Catholic Church on the Main Street had a monument to Billy Wright erected outside it and then Loyalist terrorist flags were erected beside the monument and adjacent to the Church graveyard, what would the response have been?”

Sinn Fein’s Cathal Ó hOisín branded Gregory Campbell’s comments as ‘hypocrisy’.

“The flags in Dungiven have been erected to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of local man Kevin Lynch who died on hunger strike and have not been put up to cause offence.

“In fact young people have removed any flags that could have been deemed as offensive and I would commend their actions.

“While I would never advocate the flying of the national flag from a lamp post I have been assured that these flags as in previous years will be removed again soon after the commemorations finish.

“This is in stark contrast to the many flags in Drumahoe, including Unionist paramilitary and Parachute Regiment flags designed to intimidate and offend the local Derry population who travel that road to Belfast.

“These flags, which have been fluttering outside Gregory’s home for the past few months are now larger and more numerous than previous years yet Gregory has remained silent on those.”