Belfast Telegraph

Parachute Regiment flags on lampposts ahead of Bloody Sunday anniversary 'blind sectarianism'

By Leona O'Neill

The sister of a man shot dead on Bloody Sunday has said the erection of Parachute Regiment flags outside Londonderry is "blind sectarianism".

The flags were put on lampposts in Newbuildings ahead of this weekend's Bloody Sunday commemorations.

Paratroopers were responsible for killing 14 people in Derry on January 30, 1972, and injuring many others during an anti-internment rally.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued an official British apology for the slaughter in the House of Commons in 2010, saying it was "both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong".

Kate Nash's 19-year-old brother William died and her father Alex was wounded on the day.

She said the flags were "designed to hurt people'"

"It is just blind sectarianism to taunt people. You wouldn't do it. It is hurtful. I am not paying any attention to it," she said.

"It would disturb you. And I'm not going to let it disturb me. I have more important things to do.

"I abhor sectarianism and I know that it is just done to hurt people, and I'm just not even going to think about it."

East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell denied the flags were sectarian, claiming they were a "reaction to bonfires, parades and other events in the Bogside".

"I don't know about this occasion, but on previous occasions what has happened is that a small number of individuals have put up Parachute Regiment flags and they were in response to something that was done either in the Bogside or around bonfires or around parades, such as the 12th of August," he said.

"Normally there is a reaction. But I think what does need to happen is that political representatives on either side need to do whatever we all can to try and defuse and de-escalate tensions, whether it is putting up banners and flags or provocative signs on bonfires as has happened in the past, or any type of flags that people might take offence to."

Belfast Telegraph

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