Council staff who attempted to remove a UDA flag hanging outside Causeway Coast and Glens Council offices in Limavady were subjected to intimidation from “sinister elements,” the deputy mayor has said.
The flag was erected on Tuesday but the SDLP say they have been working to secure its removal.
Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Council Ashleen Schenning, said staff were intimidated on Wednesday night.
“I have been contacted by people from both sides of our community and they are clear that nobody wants these flags flying,” she added.
“Council staff attempted to remove this illegal paramilitary flag from our offices last night but were prevented from doing so by sinister elements.
“Those responsible for the intimidation of public servants have nothing to offer people here and must be faced down by our community.”
East Londonderry MLA Cara Hunter contacted the PSNI and asked them to facilitate the removal of the flag, which she said was causing “immense hurt and distress” to people from across the community.
“Limavady is a shared and welcoming community,” she said. “There is no place for the illegal flags of paramilitary murderers in this, or any, community.”
A Causeway Coast and Glens Council spokesperson confirmed the flag was erected without permission and council officers are making arrangements to have the flag removed safely.
"It is disappointing that council’s property has been used in this way,” the council added.
In a statement, the PSNI said: “Flags are a difficult and sensitive issue for many in our community.
"Within the current statutory framework, the removal of flags is not the responsibility of the Police Service. We can only remove flags where there are substantial risks to public safety or where it is believed a criminal offence has occurred.
"However, we will continue to work with elected and community representatives as well as our partners to find local resolutions on the flying of flags in public areas.
"We look forward to the outcome of the work being led by the Executive to progress an action plan on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition."