JIM Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford, has commended all of those involved in the flag demonstration in Newtownards for a peaceful parade.
He said: “There has been intensive work done behind the scenes by community and elected representatives and church workers and this, alongside the sensitive policing, saw the 300 strong demonstration in Newtownards on a rainy night pass in a dignified manner.
“There was no violence reported as well as a small protest in Greyabbey the good people of the borough expressed their feelings in the right way with no need for violence. This is another indication of the strong feeling that has been displayed with previous protests in the square which have also been peaceful.
“The Unionist Forum is the way for Unionists of all backgrounds to discuss the issues that affect unionist people.
“Initial meetings have involved people from Ards and it seems that this could be the very method to address difficult and vital problems within grassroots unionism. Perhaps those in areas where violence was evident could take note of Ards…peaceful and respectful and a credit to the flag.
“The removal of the union flag in Belfast has affected everyone and annoyed many– it is a symbol of our identity and heritage and the removal was provoking and divisive. However, we must now work together to restore confidence in Unionism throughout the community and ensure that those with ulterior motives are not successful.”