Belfast Telegraph

Anger over UDA motto on band flags paid for by council

By Jonathan Bell

Residents in Holywood have said the erection of flute band banners paid for by the council and bearing a UDA motto should not have been allowed.

The banners for North Down First Flutes have been erected on lampposts around the town.

They bear the 'Quis Separabit' slogan associated with the loyalist terrorist organisation.

Ards and North Down Borough Council helped with the design and production of the banners, and said feedback received from businesses in the area was "very positive".

It said no potential adverse impact was found in a consultation with the community, and that it spent £4,100 on the flags.

However, residents have said there is no justification for the banners and that the council should not have facilitated them.

"It's a mixed area and they have no place," one angry resident said

"The council said they consulted on this, but they never asked me."

Ards and North Down Borough Council said the banners were a "positive alternative" to paramilitary flags, which had previously been placed around the town.

Green councillor John Barry said: "A shared space does not mean a neutral space, and I would be the first to condemn paramilitary flags or quasi-paramilitary flags like the historical UVF flags.

"However, while 'Quis Separabit' is normally associated with the UDA, in this case it could just be part of the band's material.

"I am sure they would say they are not associated with paramilitaries.

"But I understand how people can see the link."

He added: "If local residents have concerns, they should come to us with them."

North Down First Flutes band contacted the Belfast Telegraph to confirm they didn't erect banners in Holywood.

The band said they haven't received funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council and had no knowledge that the banner was being designed.

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