May 9-11 2014: G I R O D’I T A L I A
Alliance MLA Anna Lo called for all the flags to be taken down along the routes and paramilitary murals to be painted over
“Funding will be made available in towns along the route to improve the image of eyesores such as derelict buildings but I have a bigger problem with images of paramilitary gunmen“
“Do we really want these images to be visible on the route when millions of people will be watching the race on television?“
Peter Osborne, former Parades Commission chairman, now chairman of the Community Relations Council, is from a Protestant working class background in East Belfast’s Ballybeen estate.
“In my case you can take the boy out of Ballybeen but you will never take Ballybeen out of the boy,”
“We all know that murals and flying flags on lamp posts can be intimidating and used to mark out territory.While welcoming the idea of removing murals and flags from lamp posts on the route of the Giro d’Italia, it does remind me of a dysfunctional family who want to hide their behaviour when visitors come calling.I understand why there are calls to remove the flags and emblems and murals on the race route. Something is better than nothing.But for many people these things are an everyday reality not just on the route of the Giro d’Italia.“
Ms Lo “The Giro d’Italia provides us with a great opportunity to show that Northern Ireland has moved beyond the politics of the past”
Query: Wishful thinking, Anna?
Anna Lo’s comments were met with a racist and sectarian backlash from loyalists who posted vile messages regarding Ms Lo on Facebook and Twitter.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson described any suggestions of removing Union flags from lampposts as “folly” – and claimed such a move could “spark civil disorder.”
“For Anna Lo to suggest that the police would go into communities and start removing Union flags, which have been erected by communities, is a recipe for injured police officers and days of unrest. This proposal is ill-considered.”
DUP Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster
” if the murals were not of a paramilitary nature they should remain to celebrate cultural heritage“
She did not address the question of flags.
Queries: How long are we going to leave the flags and paramilitary murals on the gable walls?
Why do Unionist spokesmen make threats when people ask to bring those flags down and whitewash the murals?
How long are the people in Northern Ireland going to tolerate this state of affairs?