Council hits out at flags increase in borough
North Down Borough Council has criticised those behind the increase in Union and Ulster flags erected across Bangor in recent weeks.
In a statement issued to The CT this week, the council said it was unhappy with the amount of flags flying in the borough following an increase in the numbers erected in Bangor town and outlying areas.
A spokesman for the council said: “Council is both aware of, and concerned by, the proliferation of flags in the centre of Bangor and, indeed, other parts of the Borough.
“We do not, however, have any authority to remove the flags, except where they are placed on council-owned property.
“Council members and officers are in discussions to address the matter, which we know is concerning many local residents.”
But Mark Gordon from the Kilcooley Community Forum said the increase was in response to threats of fines for local bonfire community committees — which oversee the erection of flags — if the number of flags increased.
“This is a peaceful protest over the threat of fines to the flying of the Union flag, the flag of our country, in the town,” he said.
“One councillor has suggested a fine for bonfire committees if it is felt there are too many flags flying in a particular area.”
Mr Gordon said the protest could continue until September 28, known as Ulster Day, which is the anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.
Any attempt to remove flags would result in them being immediately replaced, he added.
In one particular incident, North Down Borough Council is believed to have received approximately a dozen complaints from residents in the Linen Lane area of Bangor, which is a private development situated next to Rathgill estate.
These complaints referred to the size of the bonfire in the area, the amount of flags being flown as well as kerbstones being painted red, white and blue.
Mr Gordon said that this particular issue had now been resolved.
However, Councillor Stephen Farry said the increased numbers of flags were “not acceptable”.
“There has been a complete misunderstanding and no threat of a fine has been issued in relation to the flying of flags,” he said.
“I simply see this as a marking of territory by those who erect these flags across Bangor.”
A statement from the PSNI, said: “The issue of flags is a very emotive one and police in North Down have been working continually with interested parties, local representatives and the local community to try to find a solution that accommodates everyone in the community.
“This is not a policing problem alone and requires the co-operation of the entire community.”