Flags will intimidate voters says Anderson

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Upper Bann DUP MLA Sydney Anderson has expressed his continued concern about the use of Lawrencetown Community Centre as a polling station for the upcoming European Referendum due to the flying of a republican flag within close proximity to the Centre.

Mr Anderson said he believed this was an attempt to intimidate voters who were using the centre as a polling station during the recent Assembly elections.

“In recent days I have again been notified that a republican flag is flying at the entrance to Millar Park, Lawrencetown, only a short distance from the Community Centre,” said Mr Anderson.

“I am aware that Irish tricolours have been displayed on previous occasions and recently a republican flag commemorating the Easter rebellion of 1916 was also flying at this location prior to the Assembly elections.

“I am also aware that in recent days an Irish tricolour appearing to depict gunmen is now on display. Yet again this is clearly an attempt to intimidate voters in the run-up to the referendum vote 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 again been compromised by those individuals who erected this flag.

“When I was notified of the flying of an Easter rebellion flag a few weeks ago I wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland to raise my concerns about the viability of Lawrencetown Community Centre as a polling station.

“The reply I received informed me that after these current elections a thorough review will be carried out and a decision will be made on whether or not the community centre can continue to be used as a polling station.

“I would hope that an alternative polling station in the area will be identified.

“Now that a different flag has recently been erected that is seeking to do nothing more than intimidate voters I will be writing to the Chief Electoral Officer again to inform him of these recent developments.

“Ultimately, this latest flag flying incident will have to be considered as another reason why Lawrencetown Community Centre should not be seen as a suitable polling station for future elections.”