Flags must come down now out of respect to entire community

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said that flags must all now come down swiftly out of respect to the entire community.

The South Belfast Assembly Member stated: “It is widely recognised that the ‘marching season’ ends on the final Saturday of August. Even those for whom the display of flags and emblems are an important marker of cultural heritage will recognise that they should now be removed.

“Although there have been significant advances in some areas, it has been frustrating to see flags erected at locations where they do not have the support of the local community, and often on an unnecessary scale. It is also long past time we saw action on flags erected illegally.

“Regardless of people’s view on them, however, they should not be left to become rags. That is disrespectful of the flag and what it represents.

“It remains hugely frustrating for the vast majority of people that there remains no political agreement on an apt way to display flags and emblems as a cultural celebration, while not abusing them to intimidate or mark out territory. It is time for a fundamental recognition that all of Northern Ireland is a shared space, allowing for legitimate cultural expression but not for unreasonable behaviour designed to irritate and exclude.”