Callan refutes Dallat over flag controversy

UVF flags in Limavady. INLV2714-262KDR
UVF flags in Limavady. INLV2714-262KDR

Ulster Unionist Councillor Aaron Callan has called for a family friendly Twelfth in Limavady.

He made the comments after SDLP MLA John Dallat called for the Limavady Twelfth to be cancelled due to the presence of some flags in the town which represent loyalist paramilitary groups.

Mr Dallat has claimed the appearance of “multiple numbers of flags promoting loyalist killer gangs as ‘simply the best’ is testimony to the failure of Unionism to distance itself from those who murdered 17 people in East Derry 20 years ago.”

Mr Dallat called on the Orange Order to cancel their demonstration in Limavady if the flags of killer gangs were not removed from the town centre.

“The irrational behaviour of unionist politicians pandering to the lowest common denominators within loyalism is in danger of breathing oxygen into the contaminated lungs of hate mongers who have never abandoned their enthusiasm for those who went out 20 years ago in a cold-blooded campaign of genocide taking the lives of 17 people in East Derry alone,” said Mr Dallat.

But Councillor Callan responded: “I was disappointed by comments from East Londonderry SDLP MLA John Dallat who called for the cancellation of the Twelfth in Limavady due to the presence of some flags representing loyalist paramilitary organisations who have been responsible for murders in the constituency.

“Firstly, the Orange Order did not erect these flags and as a member of the Orange Institution I can categorically state that the Orange Order does not in any way support paramilitary organisations and to infer as much is disrespectful to the Order and its members. I certainly do not support the flying of flags which represent paramilitary organisations and would like to see them removed.

“Secondly, the Twelfth is a family day out and given that it will attract much needed trade to the town, Mr Dallat’s call for the event to be cancelled is damaging not only to the commercial life of the town but also to community relations and indeed risks further increasing tension.

“Given the recent sectarian graffiti attack on Limavady Orange Hall that is the last thing we need. What we all must do is ensure that everyone at all times acts in a lawful, peaceful and respectful manner.”