DUP defend right to support veterans in Parachute Regiment flags row

A Parachute Regiment flag (archive pic)
A Parachute Regiment flag (archive pic)
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The DUP have defended the right to “demonstrate support for those who served in very difficult circumstances” after parachute regiment flags were erected in Londonderry.

Parachute Regiment flags have been erected in the Fountain estate, a unionist enclave in the mostly nationalist west bank of the city.

Similar flags have been erected in areas across Northern Ireland in recent months, in the wake of ‘Soldier F’ being charged with murder over the deaths of a number of civilians in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday - January 30, 1972.

Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion has said the flags have caused “offence and anger among the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday”.

But DUP councillor Graham Warke, a former soldier, has hit back and said people have a right to express support for veterans.

“No one should be above the law, and the law needs to be seen to be implemented fairly, but people are entitled to demonstrate support for those who served in very difficult circumstances and are now seen to be receiving unfair treatment.,” he said.

“There are many campaigns for investigations into the actions of the state but people are also entitled to highlight the disproportionate focus on those who served here.”

He added: “90% of deaths during the troubles were at the hands of illegal terrorist gangs yet there is no proper mechanism in place to investigate those crimes.”