Residents who attended a meeting last week about flags being flown in Limavady may have been small in number, but that didn’t deter them voicing their concerns and feelings about the long running issue.
Two meetings were held, on Tuesday and Wednesday, to garner feedback from residents following a community consultation about the issue of flags in two estates. The Tuesday meeting was in relation to the consultation conducted in the Glens area, and around a dozen people, including councillors attended.
What came out strong at the Tuesday night meeting was the value people living in the estates placed on their relationships with their neighbours, and how they live well together. What was also highlighted by some was that some people have bigger issues to worry about, such as “putting bread on the table”, said one man.
Discussion involved debate about flags “flying in tatters”, said one man, who believed they were “bringing Limavady down, on both sides”.
“It’s not just in the Glens, it’s everywhere in Limavady,” said another resident at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s not just what I see when I look out my window.” One man said he’d like to see all flags taken down after celebratory days, such as the Twelfth of July and St. Patrick’s Day.
“This year, the flags are flying steady all year round. They’re still flying all kind of flags,” he said. “I think it’s a disgrace,” said the man, adding that in another area of the town “it’s like a ragtown”.
“They’re flying, rotten,” said the man. “In my estate we all work well together. I wish they would just let us live in peace. I’d like to see all flags taken down.”
Another resident said the majority of people in both estates “live peacefully together” while another resident said it was an insult to whatever flag was being flown that was left in tatters. After one man suggested engaging with whoever is putting up the flags, another resident said people were scared to make such an approach for fear of being targeted.
A number of councillors also spoke at the meeting, putting forward a range of views ranging from flags taken down on the Edenmore Road after recent celebration events, and how that should be commended. Another view put forward included how the community wasn’t mature enough to use flags in the right way, but what was needed was engagement with the people erecting the flags and creating a forum where the community can take a strong stand on the issue.
A similar meeting was held on Wednesday night for the Coolessan area, however, it attracted only a handful of local councillors who engaged in a robust debate on the issue.
Both meetings heard from those who conducted the consultation, Brian Dougherty and Noelle Donnell from St. Columb’s Park House who expressed thanks to everyone who they said spoke “honestly” to them and were generous with their time to participate in the consultation.