Hoisting of republican flag was ‘a petty stunt’

A LARNE councillor has claimed the raising of an IRA hunger strike commemoration flag outside the town’s library was “a crude attempt at raising tensions” within the community.

In the early hours of last Wednesday morning, a flag marking the 25th anniversary of the hunger strikes was cable-tied to the flagpole outside Larne Library on Pound Street.

Ulster Unionist councillor Mark McKinty told the Larne Times he received a number of complaints from the public about the appearance of the flag and assisted as it was removed.

“The flag was cable tied to the top of the flagpole to make it difficult to remove,” he said.

“This is one incident which is part of a pattern of republican aggression over the past number of months, including graffiti etc. from a small group of people.

“I am very disappointed that someone saw fit to carry out this task, which I’m sure is insulting not only to the unionist community, but also to the vast majority of people peacefully involved in the democratic system. There is no place for paramilitary or unauthorised flags in our borough, and I would appeal to those behind this incident that common sense would prevail and that no further damage would be done to the excellent community relations work which has been carried out within Larne over the past number of years.

“We have come a long way in this area, and we do not need petty stunts like this burning bridges which have been built within the community,” said Mr McKinty.