Politicians have welcomed a move where loyalist and Union flags flying along the Edenmore Road in Limavady have been removed.
The flags, which flew from lamp posts along the busy road, had been the cause of controversy in recent times, including earlier this year when a delegation of residents living along the road lobbied local councillors about the issue.
Some residents claimed the flags were causing an uneasy atmosphere in the area.
However, the flags along the Edenmore Road are gone and, it is understood, that is as a result of talks being held between local party representatives and other interested bodies about flags and parades in the borough.
East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat said he was “delighted” by the development on Edenmore Road.
“I hope this marks the beginning of a new arrangement where flags play a less dominant part in reflecting the aspirations of the wider community,” Mr. Dallat said yesterday.
Regarding the talks in Limavady, Mr. Dallat said: “Talks are always extremely useful and clearly this is the outcome of what I know to be the wishes of many people - that Limavady has a positive image and, while respecting both traditions, people find a better way of reflecting their heritage and culture rather than flying it from flag poles, irrespective of what the flags are.”
Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers also welcomed the move, explaining she and her colleagues had received “a lot of complaints” about the flags issue in the Edenmore Road area.
“People were complaining that there seemed to be so many more flags up this year, that they were bringing down the area and that people were feeling intimidated,” said Colr. Chivers. “We saw the number of residents who came to Council that night who had concerns about the flags, so this is very welcome news.”
Colr. Chivers said the opinions of those people who had spoken out on the issue were being respected.
“It’s a very good development and I am sure people who live in the area are happy to see the flags being taken down,” said Colr. Chivers.
“I am sure they will also be happy that those involved in putting up the flags have taken on board the feelings of people in the area.”
One of the residents who lobbied councillors on the flags issue agreed the move illustrated “an element of respect for those standing up for what they believe in”.
“The area looks normal, and that is what people want, a bit of normality,” said the resident.
“Everyone has points of view, but it’s a personal point of view and that is how it should be kept.
“It shouldn’t be about dividing communities in half, creating an ‘us and them’ situation.”
The resident added: “It’s great. It’s fantastic.”