Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the creation of a new strategy for dealing with paramilitary and other illegally erected flags as part of the Government’s new community relations policy – ‘A SHARED FUTURE’ THE FRAMEWORK FOR GOOD RELATIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND. However, he also stressed that the strategy will be more than capable of accommodating traditional celebrations.
Dr Farry stated:
“Alliance welcomes this formal articulation by the Government of a strategy for dealing with paramilitary and other illegally erected flags.
“Outside of their own private property, people do not have a right to erect flags and bunting anywhere they like without regard either to the built environment or community relations.
“The erection of paramilitary flags and the abuse and misuse of national flags does create a climate of fear and intimidation in society. There is strong popular support for action against such displays.
“The message is clear. Disputes over flags should first and foremost be addressed through local dialogue. But where, this proves to be unsuccessful, there is the backstop of enforcement.
“There is a clear challenge for all the statutory agencies: the police, Roads Service, Housing Executive and District Councils to co-ordinate to both take action and to co-ordinate their activities.
“It is right that priority will be given to dealing with paramilitary flags, and defending neutral space.
“I am confident that this new strategy is more of capable of recognising and accommodating traditional cultural celebrations. Indeed, if anything, there is the potential to place them on a much more secure footing.”
The new approach to Flags is set out in pages 23-29 of ‘A SHARED FUTURE’ THE FRAMEWORK FOR GOOD RELATIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND,