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Twaddell flags and bunting are lowered

By Evan Short

LOYALIST flags and bunting have been removed from the Twaddell interface in response to residents’ “concerns”.

A leading member of the Twaddell Woodvale Residents’ Association (TWRA) took to social media this week to explain why members of his  group removed flags and bunting from their community centre located across the road from the ‘Civil Rights’ camp.

William Ewing wrote that the items were removed at the prompting of local people.

“With regards to the flags and bunting around the building,” he wrote, “the TWRA committee took the decision to remove them as some residents had raised concerns. As a residents’ association we have to listen to our residents.”

Mr Ewing went on to say that this did not mean the association did not back the campaign, rather he finished by adding: “We will continue to support them.”

Responding to criticism of this move from other loyalists, he wrote: “The flags and bunting around our building were only recently put up, as far as I’m aware they were up for the 250th day [of the protest] and weren’t taken back down again.”

We understand that the local concerns  relate  to the  TWRA  being involved in cross-community work and the impression of the group that’s created by the presence of loyalist flags and emblems at their office.

The level of support for the camp from local people has been questioned a number of times, notably after it was revealed that voter registration – a major aspect of the loyalist protesters’ campaign – was among the lowest in the Woodvale ward.

Loyalist bandsmen, sometimes masked, lead Orange Order members to police lines every night in what they say is a bid to finish their journey to Ligoniel that was stopped by the Parades Commission last summer.

The Orange Order told the North Belfast News that masks were being worn by protesters over fears they are being targeted by dissident republicans.

The revelation that some residents requested the removal of flags again raises questions about the level of support for the protest.

The North Belfast News tried to contact Twaddell Woodvale Residents Association but no one was available for comment.

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