75% of respondents were opposed to the flying of flags on lampposts in their neighbourhoods. Community relations have also suffered. In 2007, 64% of respondents believed community relations between Protestants and Catholics would improve in five years time. In 2013, that figure had dropped to 40%.
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “This research has yet again backed the Alliance Party’s policy of designated days as the only viable option for the flying of flags on public buildings. I am deeply disappointed that the DUP, SDLP and Sinn Fein vetoed our proposal for this to be the policy of the new Councils, which would have resolved this debate and prevented Councillors spending their first few meetings arguing over their flags policy. Most parties have at some point supported this proposal, it is time that it become the policy throughout Northern Ireland.
“The survey also showed that there is a lot of opposition to the flying of flags on lampposts. Alliance put forward a compromise proposal to regulate these flags in the Haass talks, but Unionist Parties ensured that this was removed from the final document.
“We cannot let these issues go unresolved. The continued debate and stirring up of people’s fears are having a detrimental impact on community relations and places the PSNI in an unnecessary challenging position. The public must look at all the political parties to see for themselves which politicians are trying to reach agreement on these issues and who is preventing that agreement being reached.”