Bradshaw says Sinn Fein has power to remove flags if so wished

South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has said Sinn Fein “need to look closer to home” in order to reach a solution to flag-flying on lampposts along the Ormeau Road.

Sinn Fein’s Mairtin O Muilleoir hit out at police after flags were placed along the road earlier this week ahead of the marching season. It comes two years after police said in future the flying of flags in the area would be treated as a breach of the peace.

However, Alliance MLA Ms Bradshaw said Sinn Fein could help resolve the issue immediately.

“The Joint Protocol in relation to the display of flags in public areas gives responsibility for dealing with the display of flags on lampposts to the former Department for Regional Development – now the Department for Infrastructure – which is currently a Sinn Fein Ministry.

“Therefore, Mr O Muilleoir needs to look closer to home if he wishes to see action taken – Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard effectively has the power to remove flags from street furniture and can do so immediately.

“Indeed, if the Minister does not feel the Roads Order gives him sufficient regulations over the flying of flags on street furniture, he is entitled to bring forward legislation to tighten-up the legal framework.

“I have recently submitted a private member’s bill on the issue of flag-flying on street furniture. That is proactive action, unlike from Sinn Fein and the DUP, who created the Fresh Start Agreement and its Commission on Flags – a body which is still to meet. We need to see more proactivity and less buck-passing.”

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