Responding to Peter Robinson’s comments today as reported in the News Letter in relation to flags and anthems at the World Police and Fire Games, TUV Leader Jim Allister has stated:
“While I welcome and agree with Peter Robinson’s comments that athletes competing in the World Police and Fire Games should be proud to walk or stand under the flag of their nation, I would ask him this: why has he at the 11th hour suddenly become interested?
“In March this year I raised the issue with Minister Cullen, who provided elusive and non-committal answers as one would expect. I have also raised it with the Chief Executive of the World Police and Fire Games and made my concerns public in the lead up to the games.
“To claim that as First Minister he has no knowledge of prior games would it not have been prudent to investigate prior protocol to ensure the politically motivated machinations of Minister Cullen were not allowed to prevail? TUV have led the way on this glaringly obvious issue, it is a pity others have not joined us.
“The protests following the tearing down of the national flag from Belfast City Hall should have made even those Unionists who partner Sinn Fein in government conscious of how important these issues are to their community and public representatives, including the co-First Minister, should have been exercised long before now.
“It is my hope, even at this late stage, the organisers will heed calls to include the Union Flag and National Anthem and prevent the already serious level of mistrust between the PSNI and the Unionist community growing further.”