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IRA atrocity banners will only be removed if they threaten public safety: PSNI

The PSNI has said it will only remove flags or banners if they pose a threat to public safety, after material depicting IRA atrocities appeared in a Belfast shared housing estate.

It comes after banners were posted around Cantrell Close and Global Crescent depicting atrocities including the La Mon bombing, Ballymacarrett murder, Bloody Friday, the Mountainview tavern bombing, the Shankill bombing and Enniskillen bombing.

All the banners carry the hashtag 'Stand up against sectarianism' - which had been used by Sinn Fein during its election campaign last year.

Chief Inspector David Moore said police had been made "aware of the banners which have been erected" and had been in contact with representatives from Radius Housing.

"We fully understand that the flying of flags and banners can cause frustration in some communities," he said.

"It is our experience that such issues are most successfully resolved through engagement and collaborative working between local communities and their representatives and police are always ready and willing to be a partner in such arrangements.

"The reality is that while we understand the public’s frustration in this matter, Police will only act to remove flags or banners if there are substantial risks to public safety.

"Until the Joint Protocol in Relation to the Display of Flags in Public Areas is updated, the PSNI will continue to work with communities and respond to any issue where there is a concern for public safety or where it is believed a criminal offence has occurred."

John McLean, chief executive of Radius Housing, which manages the housing area, said the imagery was not appropriate for a shared housing area.

“These banners should not have been erected and should be removed immediately," he said.

"There was no consultation with the people who live in this area and the imagery used is not appropriate for a shared living scheme which is home to families from all backgrounds. We strongly feel that this is not an appropriate way to display events of the past."

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