Belfast Telegraph

No significant reduction in flying of flags flown in Northern Ireland

By Patrice Dougan

Efforts to reduce the number of flags flown in Northern Ireland during the summer months have failed, with almost 4,000 flags erected in July last year alone.

And despite a slight reduction in the number of flags and paramilitary emblems in the last five years, researchers have said it does not constitute a significant amount.

It comes as Queen's University scholars publish their latest report into the public display of flags and emblems in Northern Ireland. Led by Dr Dominic Bryan, director of the Institute of Irish Studies, the report shows that the number of flags flying during the summer months has remained "remarkably consistent" over the last five years.

The research team has concluded that efforts to reduce the number of flags and the length of time they are erected have failed.

Last July 3,876 flags were erected along main routes across the country, with the majority (3,328) of them being unionist or loyalist in nature.

Even around Easter there were more than twice the number of unionist flags and symbols on display than nationalist, something described in the report as "striking".

However, the document also points out that there were fewer unionist flags being flown last year than in previous years, a drop of 433 (11.5%) from 2009.

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