Alliance to meet PSNI over South Belfast flags move

Alliance is to meet with the PSNI after police reversed their decision regarding the erection of flags in an area of South Belfast being considered a breach of the peace.

Botanic Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown sought the meeting following the discovery that police overturned their 2014 policy to treat the placing of flags on lampposts in the mixed upper Ormeau Road area as a breach of the peace, a welcome move given regular tension over the issue.

Councillor McDonough-Brown said there had been no engagement with the local community about the removal of the policy.

“This move by the PSNI is a disappointing one and there is no support for it. The fact they were able to state last year the erection of flags was a breach of the peace shows they have the power, or at least an interpretation of existing legislation, to make a stand that was popular in the area.

“So to choose to not retain the same outlook is inconsistent at best, hypocritical at worst. The message from police last year was a strong one and Alliance hoped it would indicate an evolution in the approach towards flags.

“No-one wants to see flags used to intimidate people or mark out territory in an aggressive manner, with the vast majority of people opposed to their erection. One of the most attractive elements of South Belfast is its diversity. It is important other parties live up to their responsibilities and we create a workable solution so we do not have to go through this same business every year.”

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