A FORMER election candidate for the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland has been suspended by tafter he made controversial comments about burning Irish flags.
Jim Sands, who ran for election as a councillor in Antrim in 2005 but received only 38 votes, made the comments in a letter to The Antrim Guardian and The Irish News.
In the letter, Sands hits out at Sinn Fein and the SDLP for trying to "demonise anything that is Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist" in the wake of the annual 12th of July bonfires in the North.
Sands wrote: "For some the Tricolour is seen as the flag of a foreign hostile country...For my liking you couldn't have enough Tricolours on the Bonfire."
A spokeswoman for the UUP party confirmed to The Irish Post that Mr Sands has been suspended from the party.
A brief statement from the party reads:
Mr Sands has been suspended pending a disciplinary process.
The controversy comes on the back of MP for South Antrim, Danny Kinahan's apology after being pictured in front of a bonfire with an Irish flag on the top.
Mr. Kinahan later apologised citing it as an error of judgement.
Mr Sands is yet to make a comment.
Read the letter written by Jim Sands below in full...
That this time of the year people seem to get Hot Under the Collar over Bonfires, Flags and Election Posters. These attacks are just another move by the Pan Republican Front of Sinn Fein / SDLP to demonise anything that is Protestant / Unionist / Loyalist.
What is the problem in burning Republic of Ireland flags.
For some the Tricolour is seen as the flag of a foreign hostile country. It was that country's Government Ministers who helped to fund, finance and arm the IRA in the early days of the Troubles. It was also that Government who sent their troops ready to invade Northern Ireland in the early seventies. For years Wanted Terrorists were able to walk about freely on their streets without fear of arrest. Even if they were arrested the Courts refused to send them to Northern Ireland to stand trial and they were allowed to walk free from the Courts. Even today that country still claims jurisdiction over Northern Ireland and interfere in the Affairs of Northern Ireland at every opportunity. For my liking you couldn't have enough Tricolours on the Bonfire.
As for Election Posters on Bonfires. Why shouldn't they be burnt? It is a peaceful way of young people expressing your displeasure at someone's politics especially for someone too young to vote. Is it not better burning their Posters rather than their Constituency Offices? When you listen to some people it doesn't take too much to offend them. They just seem to go out of their way to be offended sometimes even travelling miles so they can be offended.
It is also laughable to listen to Sinn Fein politicians talk about Hate Crimes. Probably the biggest Hate Crime is to murder someone because of their Religious or Political views. Something that the IRA did in Northern Ireland for over forty years. I didn't hear anyone from Sinn Fein talking about Hate Crimes then nor indeed anyone from the SDLP.
Sadly the Pan Republican Front try every means to destroy the PUL Culture and even more sadder they are aided at times by Moderate. Liberal, Wishy-Washy Quisling Unionism. You only have to look at Ladyhill in Antrim on the eleventh night when the Tricolour was removed from a Bonfire before the Bonfire was set alight.