Northern Ireland news

West Belfast cross-community football club's 'huge disappointment' at club flags on loyalist bonfire

The yellow and black checked flags of St James Swifts FC in west Belfast were found flying on top of a loyalist bonfire in Carrickfergus
Marie Louise McConville

A WEST Belfast cross-community football club expressed "huge disappointment" after its flags, colours and badge were placed on a loyalist bonfire.

After photos emerged on social media of the colours of St James Swifts FC flying from a bonfire in Carrickfergus, the club issued a statement saying it had a "clear non tolerance stance on sectarianism".

An image showed its yellow and black checked flags flying alongside tricolors.

The flags had originally been erected in the St James' area.

"We are a cross community club that welcome with open arms people from all sides of the community which we state on all recruitment posts. We have players and staff from all different backgrounds, religions, race and abilities," the club said.

"We will not let this deter us on our aims and ambitions.

"Through giving hundreds of youth a chance by keeping them off the streets, integrating them with other kids from different sides of the community, and teaching them that sport can be greater than violence, we aim to push forward and build bridges in a society where sectarianism is no longer welcome.

"Anyone at all from any background or religion is always welcome to come to training. Including the people who put the flags on top of the bonfire, and maybe they will realise that its a great club with great people heading in the right direction."

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