THE Coleraine Ulster Unionists group believe the ongoing protests over flags across Northern Ireland has caused divisions in the community and damaged the image of the Province.
UUP councillors met to discuss the issue last week and in a statement issued afterwards have called for calm among protestors.
The statement said: “Whatever we think of this calculated decision by Nationalist and Republican parties, supported by Alliance, it has served no purpose but to cause discontent among our communities and has caused street protests and violence which seem likely to escalate.
One has to seriously question the wisdom of Nationalist and Republican politicians if they felt this action would pass without any repercussions.”
The UUP said that although it supported the Union Jack being flown from the City Hall it did not wish to see loyalist protestors end up in jail.
The statement went on: “The Coleraine area is bereft of manufacturing industry and we rely heavily on tourism. Coleraine Council has worked hard over the past few years to keep our area as a premier tourist destination.
“We need the revenue generated by tourists and unfortunately the images portrayed by the media around the world are damaging our prestige as a desirable place to enjoy holidays or have weekend breaks or indeed host any further prestigious international sporting events.
It is also damaging for anyone considering economic development.”
The party appealed for calm and appealed to protestors to “reflect and think about where your actions may lead to”
“The Ulster Unionists wish to advise and give leadership and through the Unionist forum will be tabling various items for discussion as to what we can see is a deliberate campaign against our British Unionist identity.
“The locally elected Ulster Unionists feel that the best way forward is to unite and put our case forward through the Unionist forum...or please contact your locally elected UUP councillor to discuss this issue.
“We are willing to meet to discuss with all facets of the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist population to find a resolution and represent the Unionist position. “