‘keep all flags out’

Ballykelly’s community association have vowed to thwart sectarianism in the village after more than a dozen Union flags appeared there earlier this week.

On Tuesday night flags appeared on roadside lamp posts - which were plastered with black grease - near former army homes. Shortly afterwards, they were removed leading to fears tensions would rise, according to a spokesperson for Ballykelly Community and Youth Association.

“There has never been any flags on the road in Ballykelly before,” said the spokesperson. “The Association is of mixed religions and, everyone agrees, there shouldn’t be any flags at all; Union flags or Tricolours. We never had it before in Ballykelly and we don’t want it now because it is causing tension among young people.”

SDLP Colr. Orla Beattie said: “When you think of all the years the British Army were in Ballykelly there was never any trouble with flags. There is no place for it and no-one wants it. Whoever was behind Tuesday night should have common sense and not abuse their flag to be contentious. Whilst there are flags in Limavady for the Twelfth, they should be taken down as soon as events are over and not left to tatter.”

Police said they were aware flags were removed in Ballykelly on Tuesday night.

“We have worked with and will continue to work with all interested parties to bring about a resolution to the flags issue,” said a spokesperson.

“However the resolution of this issue is not one for police alone, it requires the efforts of the community, their representatives and partner agencies.

“Police would encourage everyone to participate to reach a positive outcome.”