‘Almost beyond belief’ MP says there is no widespread demand for flag removal, says Bradshaw

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said it is “almost beyond belief” the South Belfast MP has said there is no widespread demand for removal of flags from a mixed housing development in the area.

The union flags and UVF flags went up in the Global Crescent last week. The developments are part of the Together: Building a United Community (TBUC) programme. DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly said she had visited about 100 homes and found mixed views among residents, saying some were supportive and felt it part of the “tradition” of the local area, with the majority not wanting “a public fuss” around the matter.

“Emma Little-Pengelly was a Special Adviser for the DUP when the TBUC programme was created. Therefore, she should know first-hand how a shared neighbourhood works – it should be welcoming to all and intimidating to none. To accept flags marking territory is nothing else than being an apologist to those erecting them, particularly as objective surveys show only a small minority of people support the display.

“I would be surprised if many residents would feel comfortable telling an MP who was publicly endorsed by paramilitaries only a few weeks ago they were intimidated by a flag glorifying one of those same groups. Instead they come to Alliance and others, often confidentially, as we realise people want to see positive community relations and good neighbourliness.

“In addition, the DUP were one of those to shout loudest when flags were displayed at the Felden mixed housing development in Newtownabbey. Alliance condemned those flags but crucially also condemned the ones in Global Crescent, which the DUP seems to be unable to do.

“It is almost beyond belief we have an MP essentially saying it is not a problem paramilitaries are marking out territory in this way. When Ms Little-Pengelly won the Westminster seat, she pledged to be an MP for all. It appears she has fallen at the first hurdle.”

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