Once again as the Twelfth approaches, we are subjected to the usual chorus of demands from SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Fein politicians for the police to remove Union flags and Ulster flags from lamp-posts and other public places on the grounds that such emblems are divisive and that they increase sectarian tensions.
The Union flag and the Ulster flag are the flags of this country and we have a democratic right to display them at any time of the year.
They are flown at the Twelfth as part of the celebration of our unionist and Protestant culture.
If SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Fein politicians regard such legitimate symbols of Britishness as offensive and divisive, I challenge them to condemn the displays of the Irish Tricolour – the flag of a foreign country and other republican flags – on the streets of Rasharkin for months now.
In this case, there is little doubt that the sole purpose of flying these flags is to offend and intimidate the Protestant people of the village.
Indeed, I know that the vast majority of Roman Catholic residents also feel offended by this crass display.
I have spoken to the PSNI but they are reluctant to act to remove the flags.
Will local representatives of the SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Fein join with me in lobbying for their removal in the interests of community relations?
Surely, on the basis of their comments about loyalist flags, they are duty bound to do so.
Alderman John Finlay, DUP, Cloughmills