Belfast Telegraph

DUP accuses Sinn Fein of 'double standards' over Derry Para flags

Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in Londonderry
Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in Londonderry
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

A DUP councillor has accused Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion of "double standards" after she called for the removal of Parachute Regiment flags in Londonderry

The Foyle MP said families of those killed on Bloody Sunday have been angered by the flying of flags, which appeared in the Fountain estate in the city this week.

DUP councillor Graham Warke, a former soldier, however, said Ms McCallions condemnation "reeks of double standards" as she "glorifies and eulogises" IRA terrorists.

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

Two months ago it was announced that one soldier, known as "Soldier F", will face prosecution for the killing of two men on the day and attempted murder of four others.

Since the announcement, Parachute Regiment flags and banners in support of Soldier F have appeared across Northern Ireland, erected by those who feel British soldiers are being unfairly investigated for their actions during the Troubles.

Elisha McCallion called on those in the Fountain Estate to "listen to the appeals of the Bloody Sunday families" and remove the flags.

“Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in the Fountain estate area of Derry in recent days. This has led to offence and anger among the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday," she said.

“The Bloody Sunday families have appealed to the community in the Fountain to remove these flags. I would echo that call from the families and appeal to people in the area to ensure these flags are taken down.”

Graham Warke said people are entitled to demonstrate support "for those who served in very difficult circumstances and are now seen to be receiving unfair treatment".

"There are many campaigns for investigations into the actions of the state but people are also entitled to highlight the disproportionate focus on those who served here," he said.

"Condemnation from Elisha McCallion reeks of double standards when she glorifies and eulogises those who went out with the deliberate and sole intention of bringing death and destruction onto the streets of Northern Ireland.

"Will she commit her party to stop sanctioning and organising events which cause such “offence and anger” to people right across our community?”

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