PSNI and associations respond to flags concerns

Clanmil Housing Development - Mill Road - Newtownabbey
Clanmil Housing Development - Mill Road - Newtownabbey

Neither two housing associations nor any statutory authorities had any clear solutions yesterday for the flying of flags in an intimidatory manner in shared spaces.

They were speaking after the issue arose in new shared housing projects in Newtownabbey and Carryduff.

Clanmil Housing Group said families have settled into the first phase of the Newtownabbey development.

“Two flags remain on the main road close to our scheme and we continue to work with the community, statutory agencies and public representatives towards an outcome that is acceptable to all,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Choice Housing Ireland Limited said of the Carryduff issue that it is “working with the community, statutory authorities and public representatives and while agreements cannot always be quickly achieved we will continue to pursue an outcome that is acceptable for everyone”. 

A PSNI spokeswoman said the removal of flags is not its responsibility and that it can only act to remove flags where there are “substantial risks to public safety”.

Until the Joint Protocol in Relation to the Display of Flags in Public Areas is updated, the PSNI will continue to engage with communities and respond to any issue where there is a concern for public safety or where it is believed a criminal offence has occurred, she said.

In Newtownabbey, police have been liaising with the community and working to identify local solutions, she added.

Neither of the two developments above are Housing Executive properties.

However, the agency said its tenants are allowed to fly ordinary flags from their homes but not paramilitary flags, or flags that have been “added to”.