Dixon says now is not the time for Craigavon Council to discuss flags policy

Craigavon Councillor Conrad Dixon has said it is not the right time to be discussing the Council’s flag policy, as illegal street protests and outbreaks of violence are continuing.

The Alliance Councillor was speaking after Craigavon Borough Council debated and passed a motion which will see the local authority review its 10-year-old flag policy, with the possibility of extending the current policy from designated days to 365 days on civic buildings in Portadown and Lurgan.

Councillor Conrad Dixon said: “At a time in which we still have illegal protests and violent outbreaks across pockets of Northern Ireland, it is inappropriate for Craigavon Council to be discussing its flag policy.

“For the past 10 years all Councillors have been satisfied with the Union flag flying on designated days. It is unacceptable that this policy has now been changed, rewarding those who have engaged in violence and intimidation.

“Tonight I supported the status quo remaining as I believe designated days is the best policy for creating a shared and inclusive society in Northern Ireland.

“This long standing Alliance policy is supported by the findings of the Equality Commission in both 2002 and again in 2011, that designated days was the best outcome for a divided society.

“Tonight the Council changed a policy that was effective in improving community relations. This will not only destroy good will among local communities, but has rewarded those determined to drag our society back into sectarian trenches.

“In the past few weeks we have witnessed attacks on persons, property, police and the rule of law, with a number of elected representatives directly targeted. The Alliance Party has been subjected to many of these attacks and I would question the political motives behind the decision of my DUP colleagues in bringing this motion to the Council, especially as they previously accepted the policy of designated days for some 10 years without complaint.”

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