Unionists attack travel website's guide to 'British occupation'

Unionists attack travel website's guide to 'British occupation'

An independent airline advert claiming the North was leaving British occupation behind in favour of increased Irish influence today sparked a furious row with unionists.

A website promoting Flybe said the North was drifting into the fold of the Republic – an assertion vigorously challenged by DUP leader Peter Robinson.

The airline operates a string of routes from Belfast to other parts of the UK and moved to distance itself from the controversial comments.

The Flybe-destinations.com site said: “Belfast and Northern Ireland more generally have put the troubles of British occupation behind them and increasingly come into the fold of the Republic (of Ireland) as a burgeoning city hoping to reinvent itself.”

The First Minister branded the phrase highly subjective and offensive.

“The language contained in this article isn’t what one would expect from a serious or professional organisation,” he said.

“Frankly, it reads like something one would expect to hear in a republican Easter commemoration address.”

Flybe serves London, Leeds, France, Belgium and Germany among 37 destinations.

The offending site is not operated by Flybe. It generates bookings and receives a commission.

A spokesman for Flybe said the airline had written to the website owners demanding the article’s removal and a review of descriptions of other destinations.

He added: “Flybe will investigate the content of any other website to ensure descriptions of Belfast are politically and culturally balanced.

“Flybe completely agrees with the First Minister that the article presents a politically biased interpretation of Northern Ireland’s recent history.”


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