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Fears flags are harming summer tourism in Kilkeel

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Fears flags are harming summer tourism in Kilkeel thumbnail One of the flags along Knockchree Avenue.

KILKEEL businesses are concerned about the impact flags will have on summer trade, according to a Mournes
councillor.

Sinn Fein Councillor Sean Doran made the remark while commenting that people who "recently erected Israeli and, even more worrying, UVF flags" in Kilkeel seem to have "no respect for their nationalist neighbours or the traders in Kilkeel who are trying to earn a living".

However, DUP Councillor Glyn Hanna says cross-community work is taking place in Kilkeel to remove these flags.

He refuted the remark that the flags are a recent addition and says over three quarters of the flags that were up, have been taken down.

Meanwhile, Councillor Doran says council is trying to encourage tourism and believes paramilitary and political flags could alienate tourists from the town over the summer.

"I have been contacted by a number of businesses in Kilkeel who are concerned about the effect the recent flying of both Israeli and, even more worrying, UVF flags will have on passing trade during the summer months when there is a lot of tourists from the south of Ireland which hopefully will increase with the new ferry in operation.

"The people who recently erected these emblems seem to have no respect for their nationalist neighbours or the traders in Kilkeel who are trying to earn a living.

"To erect a UVF flag in Knockchree Avenue, yards from the only hotel in the town is just downright senseless.

"Under the new Newry, Mourne and Down Council, tourism is seen as the major factor that will promote the entire district and we live in one of the most beautiful parts of it between the Mourne Mountains and the sea, Kilkeel should be booming with tourists and visitors but sadly a few bigots are intent on destroying the look of Kilkeel and all the businesses.

"It really is time that loyalists allowed Kilkeel to move out of the dark ages and into a prosperous era for everyone in the area," said Councillor Doran.

However Councillor Hanna believes Councillor Doran is trying to create tension.

"This is only trying to incite tensions coming up to the 12th July celebrations.

"A considerable amount of work has gone in to removing the flags from all sections of the community and that has been successful," said Councillor Hanna, adding that the Israeli flag in question has been in situ for 12 months or more.

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