Flags proposals ‘a step in the right direction’

Flags flying on Ballyquin Road Limavady. INLV0616-594KDR
Flags flying on Ballyquin Road Limavady. INLV0616-594KDR

A Limavady man involved in negotiations over flags in the town has said recommendations in a new report on the controversy must apply to all, if implemented.

The man said he erects the Tricolour on two lamp posts in the Glens and at Josephine Avenue two to three times a year to celebrate events, including St Patrick’s Day and the anniversary of internment.

For him it’s about national pride, and that’s why he removes the flags after two to three weeks, he said, adding he doesn’t really care what flags fly in the town, as long as they are removed after a couple of weeks.

The study - Flags: Towards a New Understanding - by academics at Queen’s University, Belfast, recommends flags flown unofficially should remain up for two weeks only.

The Limavady man, who has been involved in a Flags Forum, believes the reason there are loyalist flags flying in several areas of the town, is because of splits within the unionist community locally. He also said he would be engaging with those responsible for the flags currently flying on the Ballyquin Road to have them taken down.

A spokesperson for Glens Community Association said there are too many flags flying tattered on lamp posts in Limavady, and added: “I would like to think the recommendations would be implemented, and they would apply across the board to all sides of the community.”

The report surveyed 1,421 people across Northern Ireland and proposes in residential areas, the views of all people should be given consideration; flags should not be placed outside homes in an intimidating or threatening way; and they should not be erected for celebratory or commemorative purposes in places which deliver public services, such as hospitals, schools or community centres. It says flags like the Union Jack and the Tricolour should only be erected with the consent of the local community, and should only be flown to mark significant community dates like 12 July and St Patrick’s Day.

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said the recommendations are “a step in the right direction”. He acknowledged it would be challenging to control those who “do their own thing”, but all bodies, including politicians, must work harder.