Concern over flag at polling station

The Republican flag

The Republican flag

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Upper Bann DUP Assembly candidate Sydney Anderson has described the flying of a Republican flag near the polling station in Lawrencetown as ‘an attempt to intimidate Unionist voters.’

Mr Anderson said a flag that commemmorates the 1916 Easter Rising was placed at Lawrencetown Community Centre, which will be used as a polling station for the Assembly electionsin Upper Bann next Thursday.

MLA Sydney Anderson

MLA Sydney Anderson

Mr Anderson said he had been contacted by residents concerned about the flying of the flag at the entrance to Millar Park.

“I am aware Irish tricolours have been on display on previous occasions,” he said.

“This is clearly an attempt to intimidate Unionist voters in the run-up to the election and is a blatant effort to discourage people from exercising their democratic right to vote on polling day.

“The viability of Lawrencetown Community Centre has ultimately been compromised by those individuals who erected this flag.”

Mr Anderson said he plans to write to the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland requesting an urgent investigation.

“Proper deliberation must now be forthcoming to the possibility of moving to a more neutral location where all voters can feel comfortable going to cast their vote,” he said.

“The underhand tactics being employed by those who erect such flags must be challenged and I now await the response of the Chief Electoral Officer on this urgent matter of concern for many residents in the local area.”

The Electoral Office was unable to respond at the time of going to press.