Alliance concern at East Belfast UVF flags

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has expressed his concern at the erection of UVF flags in East Belfast. It is understood that the flags have been erected in connection with a forthcoming parade to mark the centenary of the formation of the UVF. He has renewed his calls on the Office of First Minister & deputy First Minister, the PSNI, other statutory agencies and political parties to comprehensively address the misuse of all flags and emblems.

Chris Lyttle MLA said, “I have been contacted by local residents in East Belfast who are angry at the erection of UVF flags along key arterial routes, without consultation or notification. The allegation that men with masked identities used elevated work platform vehicles in broad day light to erect the flags is particularly sinister and a challenge for the rule of law.

“Residents who object to this behaviour were not consulted, the organisations concerned are regarded as paramilitary and government agencies have taken no action to remove the flags. I have been in contact with the PSNI to inform them of residents’ concerns and ask what action they can take with the other agencies to address this matter.

“How we mark centenaries with dignity is a challenge that requires strong and inclusive leadership.

“This incident demonstrates the urgent need for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to accept their statutory responsibility along with the PSNI, agencies and political parties to comprehensively address the appropriate use of all flags and emblems.

“I regret that the Alliance Party proposal that appropriate regulation of the erection of flags and emblems on public street furniture form part of any NI Executive Cohesion, Sharing & Integration Strategy has to date been rejected by other political parties. If parties are serious about creating a shared and prosperous future for everyone in Northern Ireland then their support for law and order and inclusivity can no longer be ducked.”


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