Republicans set to take legal action over Union Flag move

Sheskburn House
Sheskburn House

Republicans in Ballycastle are to take a judicial review of a decision by Causeway Coast & Glens Council which could see a Union Flag flying at the council building in the town.

The town’s independent councillor Padraig McShane said that a “think-tank” of republican activists, businessmen and community leaders have held meetings to address the council decision to fly the Union Flag from council buildings across the council area.

The move could see a single Union Flag fly over the council gym and offices in Ballycastle’s Sheskburn House, he said.

The previous legacy council – Moyle – had a no flags policy in all 42 years of its existence and latest census figures indicate Ballycastle is almost 80 per cent nationalist, he added.

“Community relations in Ballycastle are of an exemplary nature. Rather than two communities living side by side we simply have one community living in harmony. To protect against supremacists and to ensure the community continues to grow and advance, action will be taken within the council and the courts,” he said.

One individual will be taking a judicial review on the basis that a Union Flag on the council building in Ballycastle would constitute “sectarian harassment” and would damage community relations, he added.

But TUV councillor Boyd Douglas responded that it was a “majority decision” by the council.

“If Magherafelt and Dungannon can make decisions not to fly the Union Flag or sell poppies then surely our council can make its own decision too.”

A Causeway Coast & Glens Council spokeswoman said the decision will be subject to a screening process and an Equality Impact Assessment.