LATEST: Alliance concern at UVF flag display

Ulster Volunteer Force flags erected across east Belfast.  The loyalist paramilitary flags were put up over the weekend on the main roads around east Belfast.  Flags seen on the Belmont Road.
Ulster Volunteer Force flags erected across east Belfast. The loyalist paramilitary flags were put up over the weekend on the main roads around east Belfast. Flags seen on the Belmont Road.

CALLS have been made by Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle for the First and Deputy First Minister to address the misuse of all flags and emblems

after the erection of UVF flags in East Belfast.

It is understood the flags have been erected in connection with a forthcoming parade to mark the centenary

of the formation of the UVF.

“I have been contacted by local residents in East Belfast who are angry at the erection of UVF flags along key

arterial routes, without consultation or notification.

“The allegation that men with masked identities used elevated work platform vehicles in broad day light to erect the flags is particularly sinister and a challenge for the rule of law.

“Residents who object to this behaviour were not consulted, the organisations concerned are regarded as paramilitary and government

agencies have taken no action to remove the flags.

“I have been in contact with the PSNI to inform them of residents’ concerns and ask what action they can take with the other agencies to

address this matter.

“How we mark centenaries with dignity is a challenge that requires

strong and inclusive leadership.”

Mr Lyttle said this incident “demonstrates the urgent need for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to accept their statutory responsibility along with the PSNI, agencies and political parties to comprehensively address the appropriate use of all flags and emblems.

“I regret that the Alliance Party proposal that appropriate regulation of the erection of flags and emblems on public street furniture form part of any NI Executive Cohesion, Sharing & Integration Strategy has to date been rejected by other political parties.

“If parties are serious about creating a shared and prosperous future for everyone in Northern Ireland then their support for law and order and inclusivity can longer be ducked.”