The article contains the following statement from Anna Lo who is the Alliance Party spokesperson on the environment
"Alliance agrees that we should take down election posters on the route of the Giro d'Italia for the duration of the race if there is agreement from all political parties. However, if there is cross party agreement on this, then we should also look to take down flags and paramilitary murals along the route.
"The very same arguments that politicians have been making about taking down election posters to showcase Northern Ireland and our beautiful scenery, also applies to flags and paramilitary murals"
"Do we really want these images to be visible on the route when millions of people will be watching the race on television? Why would we spend money on improving derelict buildings but not deal with threatening and intimidating paramilitary murals?
"If all parties agree to take down election posters, then we should also look to take down the flags that are on the same lamp posts. People are tired of flags being used to mark territory and intimidate local people. This is not the image that we want to be sending out to the world during such a prestigious event,"
"The Giro d'Italia provides us with a great opportunity to show that Northern Ireland has moved beyond the politics of the past. As political parties were so willing to support the ban on election posters along the route, I hope they will show similar support for a ban on flags and paramilitary murals."
Now I read this and thought there is sensible suggestion, surely if the route of one of the most prestigious cycling races in the world passes by a mural that could be considered to be in support of a paramilitary organisation then some attempt should be made to cover it up. Now don't for a second suggest that I may be a little naive, Im only too aware that there is a substantial tourist industry built around visiting murals in this city, and I actually think that tourism based around the past is a good thing as long as it is done tastefully, but there are a couple of murals in particular along the route of the opening stage that promote a proscribed organisation, which in my opinion are being used in an attempt to mark out territory and intimidate people. So in my mind Anna Lo is right to make this suggestion.
|An example of a mural the race will pass|
|Giro D'Italia Day 1 Belfast|
Now I know that not everyone reading this will not share my view and you are entitled to your opinion and should you wish make that opinion known please feel free to comment below, but please refrain from personal or racist attacks like these:
This selection of comments were taken from the Facebook page Proud to be a protestant banter, who posted a status attacking the stance taken by Ms Lo.
|The original status update which has now been edited|
Alarming isn't it that in 2014 this is the type of banter that proud protestants think is ok to have on a social media site.
Anna Lo was born in Hong Kong in 1950, at this time Hong Kong was a British territory, she has been an MLA since 2007 and has recently announced that she will run in the forthcoming European elections. She has resided in Northern Ireland for over 30 years and works tirelessly for the local community as both an elected representative and a social worker.