Statement by TUV Leader Jim Allister:-
“The nigh hysterical chorus demanding the removing of flags from the Giro d’Italia route sets a recent reply from the DRD minister in an interesting context.
“I asked Minister Kennedy:
To ask the Minister for Regional Development what progress has been made in securing the removal of terrorist commemorations from his Department’s property, including that of its arm’s-length bodies.
This was his reply:
I can assure Members neither I nor my Department approves of, or support the unauthorised use of Departmental property for illegally erected roadside memorials.
Memorials erected without lawful authority have much in common with other unauthorised activities, such as kerb and lamp post painting, and have the potential to create tension within local communities as well as posing a risk to those tasked with their removal.
As was the practice under my predecessors Mr Conor Murphy MP, Mr Gregory Campbell MP and Mr Peter Robinson MLA, my officials do not remove terrorist commemorations on departmental controlled or associated property unless road safety is being compromised, or there are clear indications that action to remove them would have widespread local support.
Unauthorised memorials on the property of the Department’s arms-length bodies are matters for the Boards of those organisations.
“So, we now know it is official government policy in Northern Ireland that shrines to terrorists at the sides of public roads and elsewhere on public property can and will stay – indeed, according to Minister Kennedy, this too was the policy of Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell when they were DRD ministers – but, flags and posters must go! I hold no brief for the continued flying of tattered flags, nor have I any time for paramilitary murals, but when government gives immunity to terrorist shrines, then, they have lost all moral authority to pontificate on these issues.”