Belfast Telegraph

Boy asked for UFF flag for Christmas

By Claire Cromie

A flag protestor has told how her 13-year-old son asked for a UFF flag for Christmas

The mother spoke of the boy's love of loyalist flags in an interview with Queen's University researchers, who carried out a major study on the flag dispute.

She said: "On top of his Christmas wish list was the inevitable Play Station 4, and top of his list was ‘Mammy, I want a UFF flag, the black one with the red hand and gold, right?

"And I was going ‘Where does this come from?’

The mother, who has not been identified, added: "Eventually I did manage to track one down and he was, what, 13 at Christmas.

"And he opened the Play Station box and went ‘Thanks Mum’, and then he opened the flag and was ecstatic."

The report was published on Wednesday, on the second anniversary of Belfast City Council's decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag to 18 days a year.

It reveals how inflammatory 'flag provocateurs' toured the country stirring up trouble and warns that events could spiral out of control yet again if politicians do not show better leadership.

'The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest' said there was great respect and emotional resonance for paramilitary flags, as well as the Union flag.

Background

Two years ago today, Belfast City Council voted to restrict the flying of the Union flag on City Hall to 18 designated days a year instead of 365.

The council's nationalists, who have a slim majority, had proposed removing it altogether, but accepted the Alliance Party's compromise. Unionists had wanted the flag kept up permanently, apart from the PUP.

It initially supported designated days but later did a U-turn.

The protests which followed lasted until summer 2013 and still flare up occasionally

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