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Magherafelt Council Chairperson highlights town centre flags issue and vandalism.

30 June, 2009

The Chairperson of Magherafelt District Council, Sean McPeake (Sinn Féin) has criticised the erection of loyalist flags in Magherafelt town centre at the weekend and related activity which saw bi-lingual road nameplates vandalised in the town over the same period

Cllr. Mc Peake strongly condemned the incidents and said he believed both incidents were linked. Cllr. Mc Peake said `Many Magherafelt residents have been in contact with myself to inform me of their absolute disgust at the proliferation of loyalist flags which were erected over the weekend in the town centre.

"The commercial centre of Magherafelt should be a place free from any intimidatory emblems. It is the responsibility of all elected representatives and civic leaders as well as statutory agencies to ensure that it becomes a shared space for all inhabitants of the town and the people of our district,

"I totally deplore the vandalism which saw the Irish language content of bi-lingual road nameplates painted over or grafitti being daubed on the nameplates at the same time as the loyalist flags were erected.

"Those that choose to erect flags in the centre of our district's major town need to realise that the centre of Magherafelt is not exclusively owned by any one section of our community. They also need to realise that all residents within our district have the democratic right to determine if they want bi-lingual nameplates for their road or housing development.

"Nationalists and republicans living and working in Magherafelt will not tolerate attacks on Irish culture or the on-going territorial demarcation of their town centre I have asked for a meeting with the PSNI in Magherafelt in relation to these incidents` ENDS

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