East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has welcomed the removal of flags in Kilrea and has urged everyone to ensure that the town continues to shine as ‘exemplar material’ for others to follow when seeking to create a neutral environment which is inclusive of everyone.
In a statement, Mr Dallat said: “Recent utterances by DUP Assembly Member Adrian McQuillan sought to besmirch a whole community and damage the success of the new state-of-the-art play park in Kilrea which continues to attract large number of parents and children from every background and all walks of life.
“The two flags, one an Irish Tricolour and the other a Palestinian flag which exercised so much of Mr McQuillan’s time have gone leaving him no opportunity to take the focus off the neighbouring village of Garvagh which is bedecked in Loyalist paramilitary flags and defaced with painted kerbstones.
“ I would plead with anyone thinking of putting up flags in Kilrea to remember that no flag should be nailed to a pole and left to rot but should be honoured and respected.
“Certainly they should not serve to provide excuses to apologists who have done nothing to clean up their own backyards in the interests of harmony and respect for difference.
“Anyone is welcome to come to Kilrea and see at first-hand how a community should live, how people and businesses support each other and how our schools and churches work in partnership.”
Meanwhile Coleraine Borough Council Chief Executive Kieran Doherty has commended those engaged in responsible bonfire building, during this year’s Eleventh night celebrations.
Kieran Doherty, Chief Executive Coleraine Borough Council commented, “Some communities have made significant changes in their approach to their Eleventh Night celebrations and this is to be welcomed.
“Many have undertaken training and development initiatives provided by organisations in the community voluntary sector and by Council, and in some cases this has led to improved health and safety considerations and a positive family-friendly atmosphere.
“However, significant numbers of tyres and other toxic-producing materials unfortunately appeared in some local bonfires and this needs to change”