Waterside flags ‘seen by many as marking territory’

The flags at Caw Roundabout on Monday afternoon. DER2717GS003
The flags at Caw Roundabout on Monday afternoon. DER2717GS003

Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson has said the erection of loyalist and union flags at one of the main routes into Derry was sending “a negative message” to visitors coming to the city.

Colr. Jackson was speaking after concerns were raised by other local people regarding the appearance of flags and paraphernalia at Caw Roundabout and along other arterial routes into Derry over recent weeks in the run up to the Twelfth.

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson.

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson.

One man described the fixtures as “intimidating.”

He said: “Claiming the right to celebrate any cultural tradition in our society should be totally conditional upon that being done with respect to the rights of others, and without causing offence or giving disrespect.

“Clearly what is going on at the Caw Roundabout and other areas of the Waterside is causing offence.

“The demographics of the Waterside have changed a lot over the last number of years and for 11 months of the year there is little or no hassle, but many see the putting up of flags as trying to mark out territory.”

Colr. Jackson said that the flags were sending out the wrong message at a time when Derry’s tourism economy is growing and efforts are ongoing to attract investment.

“Given the enormous efforts and resources that we expend on attracting tourists and business people to our city,” this display on one of main arterial routes sends out an entirely wrong and negative message to these visitors,” he said, adding: “I would appeal for common sense to prevail.”