Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein accuse DUP of 'pandering to loyalism' after reps pose under Parachute Regiment logo in Derry

DUP representatives including MP Gregory Campbell and MLAs Gary Middleton and Edwin Poots pose under a banner in Londonderry's Fountain Estate on Saturday.
DUP representatives including MP Gregory Campbell and MLAs Gary Middleton and Edwin Poots pose under a banner in Londonderry's Fountain Estate on Saturday.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A Sinn Fein MLA has accused the DUP of "pandering to loyalism" after a number of its representatives posed under a banner featuring a Parachute Regiment logo.

Raymond McCartney, a former IRA hunger striker, said that the logo was a "provocative symbol" which would cause hurt to the relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims.

A number of DUP representatives were pictured posing under the banner in the Fountain area of Londonderry on Saturday ahead of the annual Apprentice Boys Parade.

Those pictured include DUP MP Gregory Campbell and MLAs Gary Middleton and Edwin Poots.

The banner read "The Fountain supports our British soldiers" and featured a mural from the area.

Foyle MLA McCartney said that the picture had caused "considerable hurt and anger".

“This banner was intended to be provocative with the inclusion of the logo of the parachute regiment. The only connection of that regiment to this city is Bloody Sunday and the DUP representatives who posed for this photo would have been well aware of that," he said.

“This, together with senior DUP figures appearing to show support for a loyalist band wearing parachute regiment insignia demonstrates the urgent need for the DUP leadership to state whether it supports causing hurt and pain to the relatives of those murdered on Bloody Sunday and other victims of the conflict.

“Failure to do so will be seen as pandering to the loyalists who put up these provocative and hurtful symbols.”

Sinn Fein and the DUP have both criticised police after Larne's Clyde Valley Flute Band took part in the Apprentice Boys Parade.

Apprentice Boys march on the Derry Walls, Saturday 10th August 2019. Picture Trevor McBride
Apprentice Boys march on the Derry Walls, Saturday 10th August 2019. Picture Trevor McBride

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said that the band's uniform had a "a small insignia of the Parachute Regiment", while Sinn Fein councillor Christopher Jackson alleged the symbols "related to Soldier F", charged with killing two people in Derry on Bloody Sunday and the attempted murder of four others.

The DUP said that the policing response to the band was "over the top", while Sinn Fein said they should not have been allowed to take part in the parade at all.

Speaking on Sunday Mr Campbell said that police had wanted to remove the banner ahead of the Apprentice Boys parade.

He said that police assumed the banner related to Soldier F.

"There was no reference whatsoever to Soldier F on the banner, indeed I and a number of colleagues ensured that we were photographed at the banner and it was circulated on social media on Saturday lunchtime to ensure the accuracy of what the banner contained was verified," Mr Campbell said.

The DUP has been contacted in relation to Mr McCartney's comments.

Raymond McCartney
Raymond McCartney

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