Flag to fly at half mast for Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher.
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THE Union flag will be flown at half mast from Craigavon Civic Centre on the day of Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in London next week.

Councillors voted through the proposal despite nationalist opposition on Monday night as the DUP and Ulster Unionists paid their respects to the former Prime Minister.

Mayor, Councillor Carla Lockhart said she had aspired to emulate Baroness Thatcher’s “drive, charisma and energy”.

Miss Lockhart said that while she did not agree with the Anglo Irish Agreement which was signed in 1985, Baroness Thatcher was a mother and grandmother and her passing will be sad for her family.

Party colleague, Alderman Stephen Moutray said: “While you liked or loathed her she was a political giant.”

Mr Moutray highlighted how she escaped from the Brighton Bombing which was carried out by the IRA during a Conservative Party Conference in 1984, and added that she was not “landed gentry but a grocer’s daughter”.

Ulster Unionist Cllr Ken Twyble said it was “significant” that at one stage when she met former Soviet leader Mikhael Gorbachev, Baroness Thatcher said he was a man she could do business with.

Sinn Fein’s Johnny McGibbon said that from a nationalist perspective “Thatcher is viewed as someone who inflicted great pain and great torture in the community”.

“Things were not always rosy in the garden,” said Mr McGibbon, who added that the conflict here was “prolonged” as a result of Thatcher’s policies.

The DUP’s Sydney Anderson said she would rank as one of the great of politicians. “She faced many challenges,” added Alderman Anderson, highlighting her “courage, conviction and drive”.

He stressed that she had “not rolled over to terrorism” and claimed many unionists felt that the Anglo Irish Agreement was one of her greatest regrets.

He proposed that the Union flag fly at half mast on the day of Mrs Thatcher’s funeral. Ulster Unionist Colin McCusker seconded the proposal.