Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stephen Farry has accused the First and Deputy First Ministers of dodging responsibility on the issue of paramilitary flags in Northern Ireland.
Councillor Farry was responding to yesterday’s statement by OFMDFM in response to a question on the effect of paramilitary flags on community relations (Belfast Telegraph, July 30, page 3).
Cllr Farry stated: “While Ministers Trimble and Durkan recognise that terrorist flags are intimidating and present a poor image of Northern Ireland, they continue to do next to nothing to address the problem.”
“Their joint statement yesterday was meaningless, since they completely abdicated responsibility on the matter. The First and Deputy First Ministers are supposed to preside over the Executive, yet they have placed responsibility for dealing with paramilitary flags back onto the community.”
“The sad reality is that with the fear, intimidation and violence paramilitaries create and carry out, no-one can realistically expect ordinary people to take control of a situation that is out of their hands.”
“Despite a unanimous call from the Assembly, the Executive has consistently refused to set up a working group to look at the problem. Instead, they said a report into their community relations strategy would deal with the issue. We are still awaiting publication of that report.”