said that police officers acted entirely in accordance with the flags protocol.
David Ford said: “Last year, a number of flags were removed from the vicinity of two Ballyclare churches as a result of negotiation. This year, I understand that local police representatives had lengthy negotiations about the removal of both paramilitary flags and flags outside the Catholic church, but these negotiations were not successful.
“The decision to remove the flags after negotiations had failed was in accordance with the flags protocol and represented appropriate action by the police. They bear no blame for what happened on Saturday night: the blame lies entirely with those who fomented the riot and those who caused fear and mayhem in Ballyclare.”