A n increase in the number and size of flags being erected in Glengormley ahead of the marching season is causing unease amongst residents, a local councillor has said.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry O’Reilly said their office had been contacted a number of times by concerned residents who say they are seeing flags being put up in areas where there were none before.
“A resident who lives off the Carnmoney Road said a flag was put up in their street and in the 18 years they had lived there that had never happened.
“We have seen an increase in the number being put up in mixed areas and that is causing concern.”
The Antrim Road in Glengormley was sealed off on Tuesday evening to facilitate the erection of the Orange arch in the centre of the village.
The increased flag activity comes after flags bearing the crest of terrorist gang the Red Hand Commando were erected on the O’Neill road roundabout and opposite the Valley Leisure Centre.
Hopes amongst nationalists that a PSNI policy of removing flags in mixed areas of South Belfast would be extended to other parts of the city were, however, ruled out by a spokesperson who said each area would be dealt with individually.
“The removal of flags is not the responsibility of the PSNI and police will only act to remove flags in extreme circumstances, for example, where life is at risk. The erection and removal of flags and banners falls within the remit of the “Joint Protocol in Relation to the Display of Flags in Public Areas.
“This protocol was to be reviewed by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the Police Service looks forward to the outcome of this review and future clarity on the flags issue.
“A long term resolution to the display of flags and banners in public areas can only be reached by political consensus. Until the joint protocol is updated, the Police Service of Northern Ireland will continue to work with communities to identify positive local solutions and will respond to any issue where there is a concern for public safety or where it is believed a criminal offence has occurred.”