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Irish News not consulted about Orangefest banner

An Orangefest banner attached to the Irish News offices in Donegall Street, Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE Irish News has said it was not consulted about a banner attached to the building which publicises the annual Twelfth demonstrations.

The 'Orangefest' banner was erected across Donegall Street in Belfast in the early hours of yesterday.

It is also close to St Patrick's Catholic Church, which has been the focus of controversy over loyal order parades.

The banner was put up by Belfast City Centre Management as part of a scheme to promote events in the city.

Last week similar advertisements were erected to publicise the Tall Ships festival.

Irish News editor Noel Doran said last night: "We have every respect for Belfast City Centre Management but we were surprised to find that a banner promoting Orangefest had been attached to our building in the early hours of the morning.

"We had previously agreed that non-contentious civic banners could be placed in the same location and we are seeking to establish the full background to the latest development."

Belfast City Centre Manager Andrew Irvine said the banner does not have any contentious symbols on it and complies with Department for Regional Development guidelines.

He said it publicises the "four great events" which are happening in the city centre on Monday - the Twelfth demonstrations, entertainment by Belfast Community Circus, a food market in the grounds of Belfast City hall and that fact that shops are staying open.

Mr Irvine said The Irish News signed a legal agreement to allow event banners to be put up on its building and, under the agreement, the company did not have to be consulted.

"They are on various buildings around the city centre where there is an agreement," he said.

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