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Provocative flags a sign of disrespect says Unionist MLA

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A PLETHORA of Irish tricolours hanging off every lampost along the Strabane bypass has sparked outrage from West Tyrone MLA., Tom Buchanan.

The DUP representative has challenged Sinn Féin to show the 'respect' and 'integrity' it was always demanding by taking the flags down now that Easter was almost over.

Mr Buchanan said he was reacting to complaints he had received from members of the unionist community in the Strabane area over the Easter weekend.

"Sinn Féin talk about integrity and respect but where did these go when they decided to put up hundreds of tricolours the length and breadth of the Strabane bypass. I got a call from a very concerned constituent on Good Friday morning about the number of flags on the bypass. I went to see for myself and sure enough, every lampost had one - from the traffic lights at the start to the other side of town as one goes to Londonderry."

He claimed there was well over one hundred flags and that made it antagonistic for the unionist community.

"Where was the integrity and respect for the unionist community. Orangemen wouldn't put up anything like that on July 12 or other days of celebration because they know that wouldn't sit comfortably with the whole community."

Mr Buchanan said he reported his concerns to the police and TransportNI and appreciated their hands were tied but actions like this made Sinn Féin's talk of integrity and respect hollow.

He commended the unionist community for tolerating what he called "this provocation".

"They showed great restraint and Easter is coming to an end now and I'd say to Sinn Féin, get these flags down now and show a wee bit of respect for the unionist community. If they are going to talk the talk they need to walk the walk and they're not doing that," he said.

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