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Sinn Fein blasted over lily row

REPUBLICANS have been accused of pursuing a policy of "cultural aggravation" following the row over a display of Easter lilies at Stormont.

REPUBLICANS have been accused of pursuing a policy of "cultural aggravation" following the row over a display of Easter lilies at Stormont.

Ulster Unionist MLA Rev Robert Coulter expressed his fear that Sinn Fein would try to eliminate the poppy as a national commemorative symbol after the party managed to stave off a bid in the Assembly to have the lilies removed.

The North Antrim MLA said it was clear from last week's Assembly debate that the republican movement was "following a policy of cultural aggravation".

"Now that real and lasting peace is attainable for the entire community in Northern Ireland, we see Sinn Fein/IRA once more indulging in its disruptive tactics by provoking the pro-Union community using cultural symbolism," he argued.

"What Sinn Fein/IRA is really involved with is a deliberate campaign of cultural cleansing in which the republican movement is trying to wipe out the cultural identity of the pro-Union community.

"The Northern Ireland Assembly's symbol is that of the flax flower. It is a neutral emblem which every section in the community can adhere to.

"But we must all question what the long-term aim is of the republican movement in wanting to have its Easter lily displayed at Parliament."

The Rev Coulter said Sinn Fein had succeeded in dividing the Assembly on sectarian grounds.

He asked: "Will we now see an onslaught by the republican movement to have the poppy eliminated as a national symbol in Northern Ireland?"


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