23 October 2003 Edition

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Sinn Féin supports community flag initiative

A Sinn Féin supported initiative to remove hundreds of Irish Tricolours from telegraph poles in West Tyrone was launched this week.

The initiative was formally launched at a brief ceremony on Sunday, attended by over 200 people, when Greencastle Community Initiative issued the appeal to take down the flags from 'unofficial' flagpoles in the area.

The initiative, called Raising the Flag, urges people who want to fly the Tricolour to "do the job right".

"We no longer feel it is appropriate for the flag of our nation to be flown up on telegraph poles and left to deteriorate into rags," the document said. "It is neither environmentally friendly nor a dignified means of expressing our national identity.

"It is our view that all flags should be flown on proper flagpoles and displayed only on dates to mark significant historical occasions and cultural events of local and national interest."

Sinn Féin West Tyrone representative Barry McElduff, who spoke at the launch, welcomed the initiative.

"The people of Greencastle are to be commended for their sense of Irishness and patriotism in the true sense," he said. "This is a major contribution to a wider debate throughout Ireland on the question of how our National Flag can best be respected.

"Sinn Féin commends this initiative and I am very pleased to be associated with this initiative. I have spoken to party colleagues about rolling out this initiative to other parts of the country."

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