Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist terror group flags put up near shared housing in south Belfast

By Mark Edwards

The erection of UVF flags near a shared housing development in south Belfast has been condemned.

The paramilitary flags were put up overnight in the Ravenhill Avenue area of the city.

Loyalist paramilitaries were blamed for intimidating Catholic residents out of their homes in the nearby mixed housing development in Cantrell Close last September.

It is understood the flags are now being taken down.

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said: “Paramilitary flags are a throwback to the type of society we are trying to leave behind.

"South Belfast is a diverse community and an example of what a reconciled society across the Northern Ireland can look like.

“Paramilitary flags are not a display of culture, they are an attempt at a show of strength and are put up to incite and divide.

“The SDLP unequivocally condemn the erection of paramilitary flags, it is high time we got off this hamster wheel of having to deal with this issue year in year out.

"These flags, much like the proscribed organisations they illustrate, belong in the past.

"Political representatives cannot equivocate or mince their words on this, and those linked to paramilitary groups who last month told us they wanted to 'fully support the rule of law” have a perfect opportunity to show leadership and that they really mean it."

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson, a spokesman for the East Belfast Community Initiative, said the flags "were not the work of the UVF" and were being removed."

He added: "East Belfast Community Initiative has been engaged in positive discussions around potential flag protocol & announcements will come in due course."

South Belfast DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly said: “Last year when flags were erected in the Cantrell Close area I stated my commitment to working with everyone to find solutions.

"Three flags were erected on Ravenhill Avenue, close to Cantrell Close. I welcome that these have been removed this morning. I will continue to work with all to seek resolution to these issues.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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