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McElduff in call to BBC over treatment of Easter Lily

6 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member Barry McElduff has demanded that the BBC and other broadcasters treat the Easter Lily in the same fashion as they treat the poppy.

Mr McElduff said:

"The issue of flags and symbols is an important element of the Good Friday Agreement. In our view the basic parameters should be equality or neutrality. In other words broadcasters like the BBC who insist upon their presenters wearing the poppy in November should therefore insist on the Easter Lily also being worn at the appropriate time of the year, or insist on no symbols being worn at all.

"Irish Republicans are rightly proud of our patriot dead and it is my belief that their sacrifice should not be treated any differently to those who died fighting wars in foreign countries for the British Army.

"For too long the BBC has treated those from the Irish Republican tradition as second class citizens, be it in reporting, coverage or symbols. For example the anti Catholic twelfth of July parades are carried live on BBC as some sort of carnival day.

"It is time that the BBC and other broadcasters woke up to the reality of the equality agenda. Sinn Féin is not prepared to stand by and watch the Republican dead being treated any differently to other combatant groups like the British Army. We are actively seeking to have the BBC designated under Section 75 equality legislation to ensure that at least legally the sort of institutional bias which does currently exist can be challenged." ENDS

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