Starry Plough in Maghera police station an attempt to 'raise tensions'

 The starry plough flag appeared inside the grounds of Maghera PSNI station in Co Derry. Picture from DUP/Twitter
John Monaghan

A REPUBLICAN flag raised inside a disused Co Derry police station has been branded as an "attempt to raise tensions".

A starry plough was erected on a high telecommunications mast inside the grounds of the PSNI station in Maghera.

The station, which closed last year, is currently up for sale.

Police have said they are aware of the incident but have not disclosed details on when and how someone gained entry to the station.

The flag, which was originally used by the Irish Citizen Army which fought in the 1916 Easter Rising, has been a symbol for various republican groups over the years, most notably the IRSP and INLA.

Mid-Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said: "The starry plough flag which is linked to the INLA.... (is) seeking to raise tensions and intimidate the unionist community.

"This is an embarrassing and clear breach of security as those responsible were able to gain access to the police station and erect this flag from inside the grounds.

"They have furthermore committed a crime in trespassing on property owned by the Policing Board of Northern Ireland.

"Questions have to be answered as to how individuals were able to succeed in doing this?"

The DUP MLA added: "I am pleased that the PSNI have given assurances that it will be removed as soon as possible."

PSNI Superintendent Mike Baird said: "We are aware a flag has been erected at the disused PSNI building in Maghera.

"The facility has not been an operational police station since 2013 and has been put forward for disposal. The site is not currently used by any PSNI personnel."


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