‘Burning tricolour’ comment retracted


A DUP MLA has retracted comments that he made yesterday when he said that he had “no problem about the burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire”.

Speaking on Frank Mitchell’s show on U105 yesterday, South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan spoke about the culture of 11th night bonfires.

“I’ve no problem about burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire let’s be honest,” he said.

“I’m not going to make any apologies for that. That is the flag of a foreign country as far as I’m concerned.”

But speaking later yesterday, he said in a statement: “I have made it clear that the burning of flags can be seen as provocative by those who would hold these symbols dear and I want to see a reduction of this activity.

“This includes when unionist or loyalist flags are placed on republican bonfires.”

He added: “I do not encourage anyone to burn flags of any country and will happily work to reduce the incidence of this...”

Alliance leader and South Antrim MLA David Ford said: “I’m dismayed at the comments Paul Girvan has made. It is unacceptable to burn any flag no matter what country it represents.”