Sinn Fein promotes killers, then acts as if republicans behave in a sober way towards symbols

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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For all the grisly aspects of the motion passed by Belfast City Council last night, there is a flicker of unintended humour to it all.

Sinn Fein’s motion call for all banners and paramilitary flags that have been erected without permission to be removed.

It says that Belfast should take legal action against the Department for Infrastructure to achieve this.

The motion was brought about because of banners which support the security forces. But the republican party knew it would have looked hypocritical to single out those displays, and not republican ones.

So Sinn Fein is posing alongside parties such as Alliance as if it is responsible and sober and sensitive in its actions.

In fact, republicans have stepped up their various commemorations of IRA murderers, from holding public events to eulogise murderers, to naming a play park after one of the worst of them (with no opposition from the SDLP in the area), to murals and other visible signs of support.

By such actions, fully endorsed by the supposedly new and non sectarian face of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, they have ensured that there will never be anything other than business-like relations with unionists, who across the board view with contempt those who murdered and bombed.

But there is a tactic behind the Sinn Fein move, of course. It seems to exclude the Union flag and the Tricolour. Removing those would be an impossibly large task. Republicans would be happy with a society in which the two national symbols are treated with parity, and flown roughly equally.

The banners in support of the military might not be best placed, or the best way to convey such support. But there is no comparison between displays on behalf of terrorists and displays on behalf of our brave veterans. This newspaper fully understands and shares the desire to express public gratitude for our security forces, and dismay that they face prosecution when no mass murdering IRA leaders do.