Belfast Telegraph

Council-funded banners with UDA terror motto to be taken down after complaints

By Jonathan Bell

Council-owned banners emblazoned with the slogan of a loyalist terror gang are to be removed from a Co Down town.

Banners for North Down First Flute (NDFF) were erected on lampposts around Hollywood.

They bear the 'Quis Separabit' motto usually associated with the UDA.

Ards and North Down Borough Council said it owned the banners and after putting them up feedback received from people in the area had been "very positive".

The council said £4,100 of ratepayers' cash from its 'Good Relations Programme' had financed the flags.

It had described them as a "positive alternative" to the paramilitary flags which had flown previously and had left Holywood "virtually flag free".

However, after this newspaper highlighted residents' anger over their appearance, the band said the erection of the banners was nothing to do with it.

It said it believed they were put up as a "one-off" in a previous year and they should be taken down as a matter of principle.

NDFF member Ian Cox said the band had no members in Hollywood and hadn't even put up its own flags on lampposts ahead of the Twelfth.

"The band is being slated for something we haven't done," he added.

In recent years the NDFF has taken part in parades commemorating murdered UDA killers Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder, as well as UVF killer Brian Robinson.

Alliance councillor Andrew Muir has called for a full investigation into the matter.

Last night Ards and North Down Council admitted it owned the banners and would be removing them.

A spokeswoman said: "The North Down First Flute banners have been erected by the council since 2015 as part of its Good Relations Programme, resulting in Holywood being virtually flag free.

"The council owns the banners which were designed through a process of mediation and negotiation with community representatives.

"These banners will be taken down at the band's request."

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