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Irish tricolours removed from council depot after almost two weeks

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Tricolours were seen flying over a council facility for close to two weeks – despite this being against the authority’s rules.

The pair of flags had yesterday been removed from the Belfast City Council depot in south-west Belfast.

But they had remained in place for some time , although the council had been notified about them since at least June 24, if not earlier.

The News Letter had been tipped off at the time by a man claiming to be a council worker who complained that in his view there should be no flags of any kind – either unionist or nationalist – flying over such facilities.

The council previously issued a statement when this story was last reported on June 25. And after the flags were still spotted flying on Thursday night, it effectively reissued it word-for-word.

It read: “The ongoing situation with flags having been erected at a number of council depots is a sensitive issue: we are assessing each situation individually, and working with local representatives to try resolve the particular issues, while at the same time endeavouring to ensure the safety of our staff, which must always be our priority.”

Yesterday, the council said simply: “We can confirm that tricolour flags have been removed from the council’s Kennedy Way facility.”

The council had also previously said that anyone found in breach of its rules would face disciplinary procedures.

But asked yesterday if anyone had actually been disciplined, it did not say.

The walled facility stands on Kennedy Way in part of republican west Belfast. It is understood to be a muster point and storage depot for use by council workers.

Outside its blue gates there are signs warning of fines for dumping outside and that CCTV cameras were monitoring the facility.

Despite this, one of the flags had been affixed directly in front of one of the facility’s CCTV cameras.

There has also been Union Flags spotted flying over council facilities in recent weeks. Asked if action had been taken to remove any of these, the council did not say.

Alderman Ruth Patterson, a Belfast DUP councillor for the Balmoral area, said: “I’m glad to see that they have been taken down and I congratulate those community groups that have worked very closely with the council on resolving this matter.”

 

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