Sinn Féin local election candidate Eddie Hughes has slammed loyalists for a number of actions on Easter Monday which he says have the potential to be seriously detrimental to community relations in Ballynahinch as more than 30 Sinn Féin election posters were removed throughout the town.
Mr Hughes said: “What happened here on Easter Monday morning is not only an illegal violation of the democratic process but is also potentially damaging to community relations in the area which have improved so much in recent years.
“Why anybody would feel it necessary to cut down election posters of myself and our European candidate Martina Anderson MEP is beyond me, but I would suspect it has something to do with a loyalist band parade that took place in the town this morning.
“It is disappointing that not only were Sinn Féin election posters removed in advance of the parade – in what can only be described as an act of provocation – but then a number of hours later the bands came marching down Windmill Street in what appeared to many onlookers as nothing more than a coat-trailing exercise following the earlier events.
“Every single person in Ballynahinch is entitled to participate fully in the democratic process. This is a shared town with a proud recent record of tolerance and respect. I am saddened today that some would want to treat their neighbours as second-class citizens. This is something that Sinn Féin will not tolerate, and we will now be actively seeking a swift response from the relevant authorities to address this issue.”[caption id="attachment_49154" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Sonn Féin election candidate Eddie Hughes, left, has condemned the removal of Sinn Fin election posters in Ballynahinch. Included are Downpatrick area condidates Naomi Bailie and Eamonn Mac Con Midhe.[/caption]