Parachute Regiment calls for its flags to be removed in Derry ahead of Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary
THE Parachute Regiment has condemned the flying of its flags in Derry ahead of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday as "totally unacceptable".
In a post on social media, the British Army regiment responded to a report in today's Irish News on the distress caused to bereaved families and victims of the atrocity by the appearance of flags in Drumahoe on the outskirts of the Waterside, and village of Newbuildings.
Replying to a Twitter post by Ulster Unionist party leader Doug Beattie, who wrote the flags "do nothing but hurt the victims who still grieve to this day & shows a total lack of respect & compassion", adding, 'Please take them down", the regiment posted:
"100% agreed. Totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour."
DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton also criticised the appearance of the flags and said they should be taken down.
"I share the position of the @TheParachuteReg - these actions are unacceptable and disrespectful. It is unnecessary and designed to be offensive," he wrote on Twitter.
Events to mark the 50th anniversary of the massacre in which 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead by British paratroopers on January 30, 1972, will take place this Sunday. A 14th victim died later from his injuries.
SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said the flags were "distressing and disheartening".
The flags are attached to street lighting managed by the Department for Infrastructure who said that where unauthorised flags pose "a hazard to road users", it will "seek to remove that danger".
"When complaints are received in all such cases the department will work closely with the PSNI," she added.