DUP welcome Sinn Fein at Cenotaph

Pipers leading Sunday's 98th Annual Commemoration Service of the Battle of Messines to the Cenotaph. DER2215MC166
Pipers leading Sunday's 98th Annual Commemoration Service of the Battle of Messines to the Cenotaph. DER2215MC166

The DUP in Londonderry said they were very pleased to see a member of Sinn Fein at the Cenotaph in The Diamond on Sunday.

It is believed this is the first time that a member of Sinn Fein took part in the Annual Commemoration Service of the Battle of Messines, which has been commemorated for 98 years.

On Sunday the Irish flag was on parade at the International Peace Studies event alongside the multitude of other flags and banners traditionally paraded.

Commending the development, DUP councillor David Ramsey said: “The DUP welcome that the local members of Sinn Fein are now recognising that both communities across Northern Ireland and the Republic, fought and died in the World Wars.

“The DUP could not be there as members were elsewhere: Some were at Royal Irish Regiments events and Loyal Orders events, so they could not attend,” he said.

“The DUP have attended in the past, but unfortunately on this occasion, we could not make it. It should be noted that this was not an official Royal British legion event, but an event run by the International Peace Studies group to commemorate the Battle of Messines. It is one they do every year.

“We look forward to the Mayor being in attendance this year at the November Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, reflecting the actions and mark of respect shown by the Mayor of Belfast. The DUP would welcome her attendance.”

Commenting on remarks earlier in the week by SF councillor Martina Anderson, in which she was critical of the DUP’s absence, Mr Ramsey said: “It is disappointing that the councillor chose to try and score political points through such a very important commemorative service. The only reason we were not there was because we were already committed to other events in the city and district.

“There is one question most people would like answered and that is why Sinn Fein do not lay a poppy wreath. The poppy in the international emblem of peace and remembrance, and was first sold for charitable reasons in America. It is not a British emblem, as Sinn Fein continue to refer to it, wrongly,” he said.