Majority of Catholics back Union Flag on designated days

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A majority of Protestants and Catholics believe the Union Flag should be flown on designated days in Northern Ireland, a survey has found.

The results came from the latest Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, conducted by Ulster University and Queen’s University, Belfast.

The annual survey found 51 per cent of people believe the Union Flag should be flown from public buildings on designated days, including a majority among both Protestants and Catholics, while almost a quarter of those surveyed supported flying the flag every day.

Four per cent of Catholics believe that the Union Flag should be flown every day. Only three per cent of Protestants believe that it should never be flown.

Duncan Morrow, of Ulster University, said: “These findings confirm that public attitudes towards community relations are closely dependent on resolving contentious issues at a community and political level.

“Analysing the results on a local basis, the survey suggests that flying the flag every day is more popular in the areas surrounding Belfast than in the actual city itself.

“However, the number of people preferring to live in a single-identity neighbourhood was notably higher in Belfast than elsewhere. This clearly highlights the need for variations in local situations to be considered when considering the implications of community relation policy.”

The 2014 survey found that community relations remain an issue of concern amongst the 1,211 surveyed.

Despite more people across all communities believing that relations between Catholics and Protestants have improved over the last five years and will continue to improve, there is evidence of a decrease in enthusiasm for integration in schools, residences, workplaces and sport.