Northern Ireland news

Contractors in Limavady 'intimidated' trying to remove paint from roundabout

A roundabout on the outskirts of Limavady daubed in red, white and blue paint. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Brendan Hughes

CONTRACTORS were forced to abandon efforts to remove red, white and blue paint daubed on a roundabout in Co Derry after they were 'filmed and intimidated', it has been claimed.

And a group of loyalists attempted to remove tricolours in Limavady on Wednesday night but were "prevented by police", Sinn Féin said.

Politicians have called for a de-escalation of tensions in the town.

At the weekend tricolours were put up on Ballyquin Road, 'IRA' graffiti was sprayed on a road sign, and kerbstones and a wall were painted green, white and orange.

Loyalist paramilitary flags have also been erected on lampposts and last week sectarian graffiti was daubed on St Mary's Catholic Church.

Contractors tasked with removing the roundabout paint on Wednesday were deployed by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

A DfI spokesman said: "The Department attempted to repaint a roundabout in Limavady yesterday but due to unwanted attention the work was not completed.'

Sinn Féin said they were halted from removing the red, white and blue paint after people arrived and started filming them.

The party's East Derry MLA Caoimhe Archibald called for a "de-escalation of the situation".

She said residents are "very concerned".

"There has been a steady increase in the number of flags, including paramilitary flags, being erected over recent weeks. Kerbstones have also been painted either red, white and blue or green, white and orange," she said.

"None of that is helpful. It is only about marking out territory and has led to an increase in tensions in the town."

She added: "There should be proper agreed protocols in place regarding the flying of flags and I would appeal to political unionism to engage in establishing this."

SDLP Limavady councillor John Deighan also hit out at the intimidation of contractors.

"It is absolutely sickening that these people have been threatened while doing their jobs," he said.

Mr Deighan said there "needs to be a lot of community engagement" to resolve the tensions but added: "The disappointing thing is that most of the people involved don't really engage.

"The people involved don't represent the community and it's a minority doing this tit-for-tat graffiti and daubing of walls etcetera.

"We believe there are people from outside the town that are stoking these things up."

DUP councillor Aaron Callan said: "If there are officials out going about their business I don't think they should be interfered with – intimidation is wrong."

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