Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the statement from Assistant Chief Constable that the police have facilitated the removal of 150 paramilitary flags within the Greater Belfast area, but stressed that there is still much work to be done.
Stephen Farry stated:
“The recent convictions of four men of displaying LVF flags in Holywood have radically changed the discourse on paramilitary flags. It is now clearly recognised, right across the community, that the flying of such flags is illegal.
“There does seem to be fewer paramilitary flags across Northern Ireland. In some areas, where they wer present in the past, they have not gone up. However, in some areas the problem is just as bad as ever.
“If the precedent of Holywood is to have any value, it must be followed up. On the back of these convictions, the police did put in place a new strategy for removing flags based upon first discussion, and then if necessary enforcement.
“I am pleased that the police have been able to facilitate the removal of some paramilitary flags. But this must only be regarded as a start.
“While people do have the right to celebrate their culture, a culture of violence can have no legitimate place within any society.
“An Alliance Party delegation will be meeting Duncan McCausland on 22 July, to explore the problem of illegal flags and other public order problems over the past few weeks.”