A Coleraine DUP councillor has hit out a street trader at the Lammas Fair who, he claims, was selling “Republican paraphernalia”.
Cllr George Duddy said he had received complaints from some visitors who were “taken aback” at seeing such merchandise on sale.
The same visitors, he added, said they would not be back at the fair.
“This is supposed to be a community fair which attracts tourists from all over, it is supposed to attract people into the town,” said Cllr Duddy at Tuesday’s meeting of Council’s Environmental Services Committee.
“Who licenses the street traders? Does anyone check what they are actually selling?
“It is unfortunate, given the history of the Lammas Fair, that someone should take it upon themselves to make a profit in such a way. It is putting people off.
“Who actually organises this Fair? This needs to be looked at for next year.”
Garvagh DUP councillor Sam Cole said that he had been approached some years ago by people regarding a “sectarian” stall at the Lammas Fair.
“In previous years they had disappeared but now it has reared its ugly head again. The Lammas Fair is a family day out and needs to be open to all sections of the community. We need to work with the PSNI next year to promote the Fair and to ensure all sections of the community are welcome.”
Glens Sinn Fein councillor Kieran Mulholland said he did not know the individual who was selling the Republican merchandise at this year’s Lammas Fair.
He said that in previous years the Sinn Fein party had had a stall at the fair and “there was not one objection to us having a stall there”.
He noted that while Cllr Duddy referred to the merchandise being ‘Republican’, Cllr Cole had used the term ‘sectarian’.
“It wouldn’t have been labelled sectarian if it had been a stall selling British Army merchandise.
“People of all sides should be allowed to enjoy the Fair.
“Republicanism is a valid political viewpoint and all this is just nonsense.”
Coleraine PUP councillor Russell Watton responded: “It’s not nonsense to the people it offends”.
“I can’t understand why anyone would want to bring it to the Lammas Far and to quote your party leader - they haven’t gone away, you know.
“Rest assured if the Orange Order put a stall up there would be a hue and cry. This should be watched for next year.”
Director of Environmental Services Aidan McPeak said that the incident hadn’t been brought to his attention until after the Lammas Fair so he had not had a chance to investigate.