Appearance of starry plough flag designed to 'intimidate unionists' in Maghera

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by Gillian McDade

The appearance of a starry plough flag at the site of the disused police station in Maghera has caused controversy.

The flag is normally associated with Irish Republicanism.

It was erected on a telecoms mast inside the grounds.

The station hasn’t been used since 2013.

DUP Assembly Member Keith Buchanan says the appearance is designed to "raise tensions and intimidate the unionist community."

He says police have assured him it will be removed as soon as possible.

Mr Buchanan says this is exactly the type of activity which is not wanted by the community here.

“There is a clear message being sent to the Maghera community by those responsible. By carrying out this act they are seeking to raise tensions and intimidate the Unionist community. The INLA created terror and devastation in our communities through their terrorist campaign and this promotion of their activity will not be tolerated,” he says.

The police station was closed last year as part of cost saving measures, he points out.

“This is an embarrassing and clear breach of security as the those responsible were able to gain access to the police station and erect this flag from inside the grounds. They have furthermore committed a crime in trespassing on property own by the Policing Board of Northern Ireland. Questions have to be answered as to how individuals were able to succeed in doing this?”

And he added: “I have been engaging with the police on this issue. It is the responsibility of the PSNI to ensure the flag is removed and I am pleased that they have given assurances that it will be removed as soon as possible.”

 

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Keith Buchanan pictured at the recent elections.

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