Statement by Jim Allister MLA:
“I have been in pursuit of answers from Minister Cullen and the organisers of the World Police and Fire Games for a number of months on the issue of anthems and flags to be displayed at the World Police and Fire Games.
“Having suspected that the Minister simply could not have the National flag or National Anthem it comes as no surprise that there has been a complete fudge which brings the whole situation in to disrepute.
“It has been reported that no anthems for any country will be played at the medal ceremonies, instead they will be subjected to a specially composed piece by the PSNI Pipe Band. At the opening ceremony where athletes usually parade under the flag of their home country they will instead parade under a banner with their country’s name.
“The fig leaf – and it should be seen as such – is that all the flags including the Union flag will be displayed at the head of the opening ceremony. Therefore the bigotry of Sinn Fein has not only allowed the National Anthem and National flag not to be included, but has extended to other countries not being able to have their own anthem and flag to represent them.
“What should be of even more concern is that the unionists in government have been asleep at the wheel and allowed Minister Cullen’s agenda to go unchallenged.”