Stormont department seeks police advice about removing Billy Wright flags in Dungannon
A Stormont department has sought advice from police about the removal of flags glorifying loyalist Billy Wright in Co Tyrone.
Flags bearing the image of the former LVF leader were recently put up on lampposts on the main road into Dungannon from the M1.
They have been erected on either side of the busy route near a junction leading to Dungannon Park, a popular destination for local people.
A former UVF commander in Mid Ulster, Wright went on to found the LVF.
He was shot dead inside the H-Blocks by the INLA in 1997.
Cookstown man Ruairi Cummings called last week for the flags to be removed.
He was 17 when LVF gunmen seriously injured his father Christy and killed another man, Seamus Dillon, outside the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon in December 1997.
He was standing just feet away when the shooting took place.
The Department for Infrastructure last night said: “The department has sought advice from the PSNI on removing these flags.”
However, the PSNI said the flags do not break the law.
Chief Inspector Michael McDonald said: “As a police service we recognise the hurt and frustration that can be caused when a particular flag or banners appear, however, we are compelled in law to consider the legislation available to us.
“Whilst these flags may be perceived as offensive and distasteful, the erection does not in itself breach the law, however we are making efforts to engage with the local community in relation to this matter.”
Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew said the flags have “caused hurt and offence to many in the area” and should be removed.
"This has been done deliberately to be hurtful, provocative and offensive,” he said.
Independent councillor Barry Monteith has also called for their removal.