Parachute Regiment flags in Derry ‘provocative’

Parachute regiment flag
Parachute regiment flag

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have hit out after Parachute Regiment flags were erected in Derry prior to the 46th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney branded the move “provocative” after more Parachute Regiment flags were erected in the Newbuildings area.

The Parachute Regiment were responsible for killing unarmed civilians in Derry’s Bogside during a civil rights march in the city on January 30, 1972.

Events have been held across the city over the past week to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the massacre.

Mr McCartney said: “We were contacted by a number of people at the weekend upset about the erection of these flags.

“Given the brutal history of the Parachute Regiment in this city the erection of these flags is provocative and disrespectful and clearly designed to hurt the families who had loves ones murdered and injured on Bloody Sunday.

“It is also an effort to raise tensions in the greater Waterside area at a time when many others are working night and day to ease community tension and build peace.

“I welcome the condemnation of this provocative gesture by some unionist leaders and I call on unionist leaders to ensure these flags are taken down immediately.”

Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood meanwhile said the flying of a Parachute Regiment flag at any time will increase community tensions in this area.

“Those responsible for flying the flag have given no consideration to the pain this would cause the Bloody Sunday families,” Mr Eastwood said.

“I appeal to those responsible and to the wider community to consider the hurt this has caused to the Bloody Sunday families and to the wider community.

“In the North West we have made so much progress to heal the hurt of the past and to work together respectfully, we cannot allow anyone to drag us back to the past.

“This flag needs to come down now – and all political representatives must show leadership and unite so that the flag is removed.”