UVF flag ‘historical and not illegal’ says council

Carrickfergus Town Hall   INCT 03-423-RM
Carrickfergus Town Hall INCT 03-423-RM

A UVF flag displayed by a Scottish Flute Band during a competition staged at Carrickfergus Town Hall has been determined by the local council to have been “historical and not illegeal”.

Calls had been made for an investigation into the flying of the flag at the weekend by East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson, who branded the incident “deeply disturbing.”

He urged Mid and East Antrim Council who operate the premises to investigate how the ‘shared space’ came to be used in what he called an ‘unacceptable manner’.

A video of the band, Greengair Thistle, performing at a band contest hosted by Shankill Road Defenders plainly shows a ‘colour party’ holding flags with UVF emblems.

Mr Dickson said that the flags carried by the band, which is understood to be under a banning order from the Scottish Order, were ‘used to intimidate’ others. He was adamant that the majority of local people did not want such behaviour in their civic buildings.

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “This booking is an annual melody contest run by the Shankill Road Defenders Flute Band who host a number of visiting bands. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was not aware that flags would be on display in the Town Hall at this event.”

The spokeswoman added: “Council has taken advice and as far as we can determine the flags shown in this video are historical and not illegal. Council understands that some people may feel uncomfortable with the displays of certain flags or emblems.”

The Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokeswoman continued: “We are currently reviewing our booking policy.”