Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein flags criticism rejected as parade banner unveiled

By Donna Deeney

Sinn Fein has been accused of blowing a minor incident out of all proportion after the party criticised the erection of Union flags before today's Relief of Derry commemorations.

It is understood that the flags will be taken down on Monday.

The annual celebration is the largest parade held anywhere in Northern Ireland - and is expected to be trouble free and non-contentious.

The loyal orders and bands in Londonderry have been praised for leading the way in successful and peaceful parading in recent years.

The DUP dismissed suggestions by Sinn Fein that the erection of Union and Northern Ireland flags along a section of Glendermott Road where today's Apprentice Boys parade will conclude is an act of provocation.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: "It was made clear that they were not out to annoy anyone and just want to enjoy their culture."

Mr Middleton said that after objections to the flags were made, assurances that they would be removed on Monday following the Apprentice Boys Parade were given.

Meanwhile, the DUP has prepared a banner to be erected on the approach to Londonderry ahead of today's parades in reference to the debate over the proposed name change of the city.

Gregory Campbell MP said: "Tens of thousands of people will travel to Londonderry to mark the end of the 105 day long siege and the relief of the city.

"This banner will be there to greet them as they arrive.

"It will be only a small part of the magnificent welcome which awaits from the Maiden City."

Belfast Telegraph

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