There have been contrasting views to the erection of a controversial banner in support of the the Parachute Regiment in Enniskillen last week.

The banner, which read: “Enniskillen opposes the witch hunt against our British veterans” and is flanked by the emblem of the Parachute Regiment was erected on the Dublin Road on Friday, however it was removed the following day.

Sinn Féin Councillor, Tommy Maguire called the banner and “affront” to the Nationalist community, however DUP Councillor Keith Elliott said the “frustration at the disproportionate focus on the actions of the security forces is increasingly evident and is leading to outcomes such as the erection of flags”.

“Like everyone else in Enniskillen I was disgusted to see the banner up on Friday morning. Like wise I was delighted to see it removed on Saturday morning,” said Councillor Maguire.

“The reaction I got on Friday from the amount of people that called me, there were a lot of very angry people.

“Not all political people but people who had been angered by the display and the claiming the whole town in support of these people.

“Support of the Parachute Regiment to the Nationalist people is a serious affront to their neighbour. Councillor Elliott said: “Dealing with the past is one the key issues that needs to be resolved in Northern Ireland.

“In this regard the facts are stark: 90 per cent of deaths were caused by terrorists with murderous intent whilst 10 per cent were attributed, lawfully, to our security forces.

“While security forces served our country with bravery and distinction, the IRA still has no intention of ever telling the truth about the past. Whilst republicans demand the truth from soldiers and police officers, they hide from the truth about their dark and terrible past.

“Some of those condemning erection of flags continue to glorify and eulogise terrorists and their actions, which is hurtful to innocent victims of terrorism.”

Paul Blake (SDLP) said the banner was only going to heighten tensions” at a time when community relations within the town were very strong.

A group calling themselves “Enniskillen Veterans” released a statement to this newspaper saying they removed the banner for health and safety concerns but they “stand with those innocent victims and soldiers.

“In many places across Northern Ireland banners and flags have been displayed which show support for veterans.

“On Thursday night a similar banner was erected in Enniskillen,” the statement read.

“The decision to erect this banner was as a result of growing frustration that our soldiers face the dock over their actions, many of which were lawful, during dark days in Northern Ireland. Men and women stood in the face of danger and death to protect citizens.

“They followed orders willingly, to stop the public from coming to harm due to faceless, terrorist cowards, who used bomb and bullet only to get away, run across the Border and hide.

“While we had to remove the banner due to health and safety concerns, some politicians would do better to show leadership in their communities by getting terrorists to come out from the shadows and provide truth to the families of innocent victims.

“That would be better than pontificating about pain and hurt, which is ironic when representatives from their party continue to support IRA terrorism at commemorative events,” the statement added.