A Fermanagh ex-pat now living and working in Australia said the riots in Northern Ireland are doing untold damage to the province.
Kevin Daly, orginally from Ederney, said the trouble is gaining more column inches in the Australian media, with the effect many of his work colleagues think Northern Ireland has gone “back to the dark ages”.
The 27-year-old (pictured), who moved to Sydney 16 months ago and works as an electrician, said the riots have made headlines there in recent days and is now a topic of conversation among his friends.
Protests began following the decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall on December 3, and trouble has broken out on a number of occasions as protestors have taken to the streets.
Footage of the riots appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website earlier this week and reports were carried in the paper. The trouble has also been covered by French, Indian and Argentinian media, as well as Arabic news station Al Jazeera.
“A lot of Australians I work with would be aware of the trouble only recently due to it being on the television or in the newspaper,” he told the News Letter. “The television reports over here are about the police getting petrol bombed and most Australians still think that Northern Ireland is stuck in the previous dark ages of violence.”
Kevin said friends have been deterred from travelling here after hearing of the violence - in which around 70 police officers have been injured to date.
He said: “Workmates of mine are going touring in Europe in a few months and I would often say to go and see Belfast and other parts of Ireland but after seeing the violence on television they definitely wouldn’t.”
Kevin, who says he keeps abreast of news back home through Twitter and online news, added that he feels politicians here do not realise the extent of the damage being caused by a sixth week of protests and violence.
“I really don’t think politicians back home in Stormont realise the damage that is being done to Northern Ireland’s image across the world,” he said. “This trouble at present will have such a bad lasting legacy for years to come. Are politicians waiting for someone to be killed before sorting this out? I personally can’t believe how many police officers have been injured and still nothing seems to be being done.”