Group set up in Mid Ulster

A NEW group made up of loyalist flag protestors from around the province has set up a Mid-Ulster sub-committee.

The Ulster People’s Forum (UPF) is seen as an alternative to the Unionist Forum, which was set up by DUP leader Peter Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt to address problems thrown up by the flags demonstrations.

Victim’s campaigner Willie Frazer, who is set to contest the Mid-Ulster by-election, is the group’s interim spokesperson.

On Thursday a statement was released stating that a sub-committee group representing loyalists from “all areas of Tyrone and Fermanagh” had been established.

Interim Chairperson for the group, Jamie Bryson, said the local group will work alongside the central Forum committee.

A number of flag protests have taken place in Mid-Ulster since the removal of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall at the start of December.

“The Mid Ulster sub-committee of the Ulster People’s Forum took place on Thursday 10th January 2013,” a statement read.

“The Meeting involved ordinary Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists from all areas of Tyrone and Fermanagh including people from Dungannon, Moygashel, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Carnteel, Benburb, Stewartstown, Newmills, Cookstown, Moneymore, Draperstown, Portadown, Coagh, Caledon, Augher, Clogher Valley, Enniskillen and Fermanagh.”

“The meeting was opened and it was soon clear that the aim of the meeting was to unite all types of people from the PUL Community to combat the attacks on our British identity and culture,” it said.

“The Group will work under the direction and help of the main body of the Ulster People’s Forum which took place in Newtownards on 3rd January 2013.”

The new group has been criticised by First Minister Peter Robinson who claimed those involved were “bankrupt of thought” after a suggestion that direct rule was an alternative to power-sharing with Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness.