Belfast Telegraph

Nazi and Confederate flags erected near loyalist bonfire site in Carrickfergus alongside paramilitary flags

Nazi and Confederate flags have appeared on lamp posts in County Antrim.

The flags are situated near a loyalist bonfire site on the Marshalltown Road in Carrickfergus.

Police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon they were aware of a further Confederate flag in the Bushmills area.

They appeared alongside loyalist paramilitary flags and the Union flag.

The PSNI said they were "aware of reports of several flags in the Carrickfergus area and are making enquiries".

Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson condemned their appearance as an "incredibly sinister move".

"Part of the celebration for the Twelfth of July incorporates the memory of thousands of Orangemen who gave their lives during the Second World War," he said.

"For anyone to put swastika flags around a bonfire as part of their so-called celebration has taken a most sinister turn, and is flying in the face of everything that I ever understood the Orange Order to stand for. This requires the whole community to stand up and say 'enough is enough'."

"I would hope that the Orange Order would join me and other community leaders in Carrickfergus and say 'this is not in our name and we don't want these symbols of fascism rearing their head in our community'."

An Orange Order spokesman said: "The Orange Institution is not responsible for the erection of these flags in Carrickfergus. Public representatives, including Mr Dickson, have a role to play and should not shirk their responsibilities if there are concerns within certain communities regarding particular flags and symbols."

Meanwhile paramilitary flags have also been erected across north Down in a "concerted campaign of intimidation".

Many parts of the constituency, including Bangor and Ballygowan, have been awash for several weeks with UDA and Red Hand Commando flags.

Despite complaints from furious residents, no action has been taken by the PSNI.

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"Local people are very concerned about the prevalence of these flags, particularly in the Kilcooley and Whitehill housing estates in Bangor.

"Residents are feeling very intimidated by these flags. But the council has concerns about the safety of council officers should they go in to remove them," said Independent councillor for the Bangor area Noelle Robinson.

"The flags are very prominent and it is the worst I have seen in many years," she added.

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A resident of the Kilcooley estate in the town said he believed there was a "concerted campaign of intimidation".

"These flags promoting illegal paramilitary groups are being erected right across North Down and nobody is willing to do a thing about it," he said.

The resident added: "We just keep being told that the police, the council and all these different agencies are working with local representatives to get them down. But how can you reason with people who put these type of flags up? I mean, its the Red Hand Commando flag. That says it all, really."

Last week a Confederate flag was tied to a lamppost outside the home of a black footballer in east Belfast.

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