Belfast Telegraph

Derry council to vote on 'offensive' flags and banners after Sinn Fein's Belfast victory

A Parachute Regiment flag
A Parachute Regiment flag

Sinn Fein in Londonderry have proposed a motion to force the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to remove "offensive" flags and banners from their property.

It comes after a similar motion was passed by Belfast City Council on Monday night.

Councillors will vote on taking legal action to force the department to remove the flags and banners in the Derry and Strabane District Council area.

Paramilitary flags have been erected in unionist areas of Derry in the lead up to the parading season, while banners have also been erected to show support for 'Soldier F', who is accused of murder and attempted murder in the city on Bloody Sunday.

Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Cooper said the flags were being used to "divide, offend and cause hurt".

“This has brought particular anguish to the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday - given that many of these banners express support for ‘Soldier F’ who is currently facing murder charges," Councillor Cooper said.

“Many of these flags and banners are attached to lampposts which are the property of the Department for Infrastructure. So far, they have failed to take any action to remove them.As councillors we have a responsibility to protect the interests of the citizens we represent."

While erecting flags on DfI property without permission is illegal, the department has said that it is wary of taking action against those who erect the flags as it may "heighten community tensions" and put staff in danger.

Police said the erection of banners was not necessarily a crime and that they would act if the owner of the property the flag or banner was erected on made a complaint.

Flags which have been placed at Caw roundabout in Londonderry
Flags which have been placed at Caw roundabout in Londonderry

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