SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has condemned graffiti or the erection of posters or banners which advocate violence. He has called upon all sections of society to take action, to promote and renew the commitment to peace and prosperity on this island.
Mr Durkan commented: “I would reiterate the demands made in the recent motion brought by SDLP to Derry City and Strabane District council, urging DfI to remove Paramilitary flags and offensive banners from its street furniture. Going one step further, I believe any offensive item including posters and graffiti which have the clear intention of provocation and intimidation, should be removed. Regardless of whether it is a flag glorifying the Parachute Regiment or a banner promoting paramilitaries.
“Clearly DfI have a duty in this regard but Council, the PSNI and indeed communities have a vital role to play as well. The removal of such imagery on our streets requires a multi-agency approach and public backing.
“Any item which incites hatred and heightens tensions between communities is not wanted and not supported here. Of course, it is important not to forget our history, to celebrate our different cultural identities, it is woven into the fabric of this city but it must be done in a respectful way. Any placard or graffiti which aims to exert control over communities or instil fear, must never be tolerated let alone accepted.”
“There is a tendency to become desensitised when we are bombarded daily by propaganda and warnings from anonymous figures- whose sole purpose is to promote hatred, romanticise violence and dredge up the ugliness of our past. But their presence, indeed their continued tolerated presence, only serves to drag us backwards.
“It is important to note that efforts have been made to remove these items by those within the community, particularly following the murder of a young journalist on our streets. The people of Creggan and the wider Derry area have shown strength, reiterated their solid commitment to peace and condemned an organisation whose efforts serve to destroy peace and divide our communities.
“In order to move on from our violent past, we must remove violent and hateful imagery from our streets, to ensure that violence does not play a part in our future. There is no place for any poster, banner or graffiti which threatens peace in our society- we have a duty to protect our hard-fought peace at all costs.”