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'Residents don't want a fuss' about UVF terror flags, says DUP's Pengelly

A newly elected MP in South Belfast says the majority of people she's spoken to in the area don't "want a public fuss" about flags.

Emma Little Pengelly was speaking to the BBC on Monday night after a DUP spokesman had earlier stated that all flags and emblems associated with paramilitaries have no place in communities.

The discussion centred around Union flags and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) flags that are currently flying in Global Crescent and Cantrell Close near the Ravenhill and Cregagh roads.

The housing developments are part of the Together Building United Communities programme.

"Paramilitaries are a plague on society," the spokesman told the BBC's Nolan Show. "The DUP condemns all those who cling to criminality and violence."

Responding to a query from the show, the Police Service of Northern Ireland it is not responsible for removing flags, except when there is "a substantial risk to public safety"  or where it is believed that a criminal offence has taken place.

Following the broadcast, Ms Little Pengelly said she spent several hours calling to around 100 homes in the area and was satisfied that the majority "didn't want a public fuss around this matter".

She stated: "There were some people who were very supportive of the flags, people who felt very much it was part of the tradition of the local area and the wider area.

"The majority of people said to me: 'We understand that the flags have gone up, but we also understand that they will come back down again'.

"Really they didn't want a public fuss around this matter," she added.

"And there were some who had concerns around this, who would prefer for the flags not to be there.

"The way I would put this is that it was a much more complex picture than I was imagining.

"There were some concerns raised, I reassured those individuals that I would be here to support them as well, I would represent their views to the housing association," Ms Little Pengelly concluded.

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