Belfast Telegraph

Anger as Parachute Regiment flags flown in Belfast

Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in Belfast.
Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in Belfast.

An SDLP representative has hit out at the flying of Parachute Regiment flags in Belfast describing it as an "insult" to the families of those killed at Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy massacre.

The flags were erected in north Belfast at the junction of the Oldpark Road and Ballysillan Road sometime on Saturday. There have also been reports of flags flying in other parts of Northern Ireland.

It is in contravention of the flags protocol put forward by the Loyalist Communities Council which stated flags should be flown in a "respectful" manner and not in a way to be used for provocative purposes and only between June and September.

Sources in the area told the Belfast Telegraph they were put up to show "solidarity" with soldier F, who faces prosecution over the killings of two people on Bloody Sunday and the attempted murder of four others.

Carl Whyte, who is the SDLP’s member of the independent Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition said whoever put the flags up showed "complete ignorance of the history of the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland".

He said residents in the area had been in contact to voice their concerns.

"These flags should be taken down immediately before they cause any further distress," he said.

“I am calling on community leaders in the area to exercise their influence. I have also written to the Department of Infrastructure requesting their immediate removal."

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded after members of the Army's Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry's Bogside on January 30, 1972. A 14th person died in hospital.

A number of unionist representatives could not be reached or did not respond to request for comment.

However, a source in the community said the flags had been erected to show "solidarity with Soldier F".

"People in these communities are angry that republican protagonists have been handed down letters of comfort whilst veterans lie in their beds at night waiting for a rap at the door."

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