Sinn Fein call for removal of tri-colours from Bessbrook Pond

July 28, 2014

Sinn Fein Councillors have questioned the motives behind the erection of two tri-colours on trees in the middle of Bessbrook Pond last week.

Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady said the flags could be seen as intimidating by Protestant residents in the mixed community of Bessbrook.

“The issue is one that is causing contention because obviously in Bessbrook particularly there is a mixed community,” he said.

“I think you have to respect the culture and nature of the people who live in that area.

“These flags, some may consider them as overtly sectarian, intimidating and threatening, and I think what we do not want to do in relation to this is perpetuate division.”

His sentiments were echoed by Bessbrook Sinn Féin Councillor and Mayor of Newry & Mourne Cllr Dáire Hughes who also urged respect for the national flag, accusing those who erected the flags of “dishonouring” it.

“Whilst Sinn Féin acknowledge that there are occasions when it is understandable that our national flag is displayed and flown, the manner in which these particular flags are displayed is a cause for concern,” said Councillor Hughes.

“The erection of the national flag in places like trees in the middle of a pond is effectively dishonouring it, and also neither at any time should it be used to impose, intimidate or disrespect.

“I share the belief of most that our national flag should at all times command the highest degree of respect,” added the Mayor.

Appealing for those responsible for to remove the flags, he also commented on the wider issues of flags & emblems.

“We need to respect the right of all citizens to celebrate one’s culture and identity in an acceptable manner, while recognising and respecting the perceptions of those who may view such displays as overtly sectarian, intimidating and indeed threatening in nature” he said,

“Failure to do so, perpetuates division and instability.  Sinn Féin is committed to proactively working with the Republican/Nationalist community to develop agreed protocols around flags, symbols and emblems with our Unionist/Loyalist neighbours.”