Regiment flags 'used to hurt 'Bloody Sunday families

Image caption,
Parachute Regiment flags in Newbuildings, County Londonderry

The flying of Parachute Regiment flags on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry was shameful, an Ulster Unionist MLA has said.

Doug Beattie, a former Army captain, said the flags were being used to hurt the families of those killed and injured.

Thirteen people were killed on 30 January 1972 when paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march.

The flags were erected in Newbuildings.

Mr Beattie told the Belfast Telegraph: "That is totally shameful to do that, because it is only done for one reason and we all know what that reason is.

"As for people who say that they are putting up that flag to remember the paratroopers who were killed in Northern Ireland throughout the Troubles, I say to them this - this does not remember their memory in any shape or form.

"It is not something that they would want. It is not something that their colleagues would want to see. It is using the memory of these men in order to hurt the Bloody Sunday families."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney described the flags as "provocative and disrespectful", saying they had caused upset to a number of people in Derry.

"They are clearly designed to hurt the families who had loves ones murdered and injured on Bloody Sunday," he added.

Clarification 9 April 2019: This article was amended to remove a reference to the death of John Johnston. This reflects the Bloody Sunday Inquiry's finding about Mr Johnston's death several months after he was wounded in Derry on 30 January 1972. The inquiry report states that his death was "not the result of any of the wounds he sustained on Bloody Sunday".