SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat has criticised those behind the removal of Union flags from a War Memorial in Kilrea on Sunday night. Mr Dallat said that those from either side of the community disrespecting flags need to see the bigger picture of a Northern Ireland where difference is respected and diversity is encouraged.
He said: “Those who removed four union flags from the Diamond should try to see the bigger picture of respecting difference and encouraging diversity.
“While I do not condone the flying of the Union flag in public places as it so often is from lampposts all year round, and I openly condemn some of the horrible acts of disrespect shown to the Irish tricolour around the Twelfth, these particular flags were to be put up for 24 hours and then taken down.
“If self-proclaimed opponents of this flag are truly interested in an Ireland of equals then they must demonstrate that they can respect a pluralist society where all cultures are respected. What they have done is create an opportunity for equally intolerant people to rush to facebook and twitter to broadcast vile comments. They have fed oxygen into organisations and politically backward individuals who have nothing to offer to the New Ireland many of us passionately believe and are working toward.
“Kilrea is a good town where community relations are excellent and those who seek to undermine this through petty acts of intolerance need to understand how out of sync with the majority of people they are.”