DUP slams ‘Somme Day’ motion on Army banners
The DUP leader on Belfast City Council has reacted angrily after Sinn Fein tabled a motion for the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme calling on a Stormont department to take down banners supporting British soldiers.
It is the latest row over loyalist backing for paratrooper 'Soldier F', who has been charged with two murders on Bloody Sunday.
Republican members have called a special meeting on July 1 to consider the motion, which reads: "This council agrees to take enforcement action against the Department for Infrastructure to remove banners in Belfast which support British soldiers."
Last night George Dorrian described the motion as an "attempt to deliberately cause offence and raise tension across the community".
He said Sinn Fein would have been well aware of the significance of the date, "when the dead from all sides of our community who fought and died together at the Somme are commemorated".
"It is deliberately worded to inflame tensions rather than reduce them," Mr Dorrian claimed.
"The Sinn Fein leadership needs to reflect on this motion.
"It is another example of Sinn Fein disrespect for anything which is British.
"The councillors who have requested this motion should withdraw it."
He also claimed that the motion would seek "the removal of any Royal British Legion, Armed Forces Day or any other banner erected to support those who have served our country".
He added: "There is nothing about his motion which will help to find any resolution to contentious issues in our society, or build better community relations in Belfast."
Meanwhile, an Alliance councillor has described the erection of Union flags in south Belfast as an "attack on our shared space", saying the community was "wrongly having a single identity foist upon it".
Former Deputy Lord Mayor Emmet McDonough-Brown posted pictures on Twitter showing six people, including a young girl, around a lamppost on the Ormeau Road.
In one picture the group can be seen standing around a set of ladders with one man holding a Union flag.
Mr McDonough-Brown tweeted: "Once again our shared and diverse community is wrongly having a single identity foist upon it."