DUP Alderman David Ramsey, has hit back at a claim by Sinn Féin that unionists should be doing more to prevent the flying of Parachute Regiment flags in the Waterside, accusing republicans of attempting to use “Bloody Sunday victims for political advantage”.
The DUP representative reacted angrily to claims by his Waterside colleague, Christopher Jackson of Sinn Féin, that the flying of the flags alongside the Union Flag and the Ulster Banner at the weekend was “insensitive and inflammatory”.
Ald. Ramsey claimed the Waterside community was “sick sore and tired of continuous attempts to create issues that are not really there”, and asked where Colr. Jackson was last year when there were “nightly attacks on young Protestants in the Waterside by mobs coming over the Peace Bridge”.
He said community and political representatives in the Waterside were continually on the ground helping the authorities and making an effort to keep young people out of trouble.
“Instead of nit-picking maybe Colr. Jackson should be supporting the work going on to improve relations instead of using Bloody Sunday victims for a political advantage,” said Ald. Ramsey.
“You can’t eat a flag or it won’t put food on the table.”
The DUP Alderman said he accepted that “the Parachute Regiment have been controversial and Unionism does not condone what happened on Bloody Sunday”.
However, he claimed the ongoing investigation into the events of January 30, 1972, when 13 people were massacred by the regiment in the Bogside was “a witch hunt of old men”.
He said: “As far as the DUP are concerned there is a distinctive hierarchy of victims in this town and it is regrettable.
“If many millions spent on this one atrocity could now be made available, we could have closure for many victims and their families of republican terrorism locally.
“The deaths of those on Bloody Sunday are once again being used as a stick to beat Unionism with. Many victims live everyday with the realisation that there may never be justice for their families.
“If I was to go to the ‘Journal’ every time I’m offended by the erection of IRA recruitment banners, republican paramilitary flags of organisations who murdered a member of my family and a number of friends I would be a regular columnist.”
Ald. Ramsey also pointed to the erection of posters in the Bogside with “PSNI signs with targets on their back”.
“As I said last week to get on with it because this continued onslaught against the PUL community from Colr. Jackson is getting boring,” he said.