Chris Lyttle MLA:”Unionist leaders have continuously said that the British identity is being undermined, further heightening fears and creating tensions. The decision by Belfast Council actually acknowledges Northern Ireland’s place in the UK with Sinn Fein and the SDLP voting for the Union Flag to fly on designated days.
“Unionist Parties have presented this as a break with normal practice. Yet it is the policy at Stormont, the DUP at Lisburn Council and was the preferred position of the UUP and PUP in 2000. These parties are now exploiting the flag and failing to address issues such as the economy, education and employment. Do they support a shared future or not?
“They are also sending dangerously mixed messages to protestors. While Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and Arlene Foster call for these protests to end, their elected representatives have supported them.
“In the run up to Christmas businesses are losing out due these protests, it is time people realised that they are harming their own community. Protests must end, politicians must voice united opposition and urge those organising them to stop the disruption to people’s lives.
“Sinn Fein could also move to diffuse fears by making clear their commitment to a shared future for all identities in Northern Ireland.”